Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: nutmeg

Plum and Cranberry Soda Bread Muffins

 

IMG_0321

IMG_0295

I wasn’t quite sure what to call these muffins! They are inspired by the recipe for Irish soda bread but, like all good muffins, are fruit filled and quite moist.

They came about when I was researching soda bread and found this great recipe from Jack Monroe for Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread from her blog Cooking on a Bootstrap. I was very impressed with her helpful suggestion about how to make a buttermilk substitute, by adding lemon juice to ordinary milk. I also liked that she added rhubarb to the traditional soda bread recipe.

So I decided to make muffins, using the main ingredients for soda bread – flour, bi-carb and lemon juice soured milk as the buttermilk substitute. I added an egg, as muffin recipes really need that enrichment.

My recipe has both fresh fruit and dried fruit. I think both are good – I suggest you go with whatever is seasonal for the fresh fruit, and any fried fruit would work well.

These muffins have no butter or oil, so are quite healthy. You could cut right down on the sugar if you really wanted a super-good-for-you muffin.

The result was moist, full of gorgeous spices and delicious on its own. A little yoghurt with the muffin would be nice, or even butter…!

Ingredients

200mls semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 free-range egg lightly beaten
3 plums (chopped) or any other stone fruit or other fruit such as apples or pears
2 tbls dried cranberries or other dried fruit
100gms brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin moulds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these moulds, use an ordinary 6 hole muffin tin. Or you can use a smaller 12 cup muffin tin for daintier muffins.
Pour the milk into a jug or a cup and squeeze in the lemon juice. Leave to stand for a minute or two to allow the milk to curdle. Add the beaten egg.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and briefly mix through. Add the chopped plums, with the dried cranberries. Stir in the sugar and spices.
Make a well in the centre of the flour/fruit ingredients and pour in the curdled milk, lemon and egg mixture.
Stir together, remembering not to overmix as muffins definitely need only rough mixing.
Spoon the mixture into muffin cases in your moulds or tin. Just before putting into the oven, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with demerara sugar for added crunch.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm on their own or with yogurt or butter.

IMG_0313

Advertisements

Jamie Oliver’s Ricotta Fritters with Tomato Sauce and Courgette (Zucchini) Salad

IMG_4585

This is another 15 Minutes Meals recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Really, really easy and you end up with a dish that looks interesting and is quite subtle in flavour. The lemon zest and the nutmeg in the fritters give them a slightly exotic flavour.

Ingredients

For the sauce

25g dried porcini mushrooms*

4 anchovy fillets

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives

Half a bunch of fresh basil

For the fritters

1 large free-range egg

400g ricotta cheese

1/4 whole nutmeg, for grating

Zest of a lemon

40g Parmesan cheese

1 heaped tbsp plain flour

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

For the salad

400g green or yellow baby courgettes (zucchini)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh red chilli

Half a bunch of fresh mint

Juice of a lemon

Method

Put the porcini into a mug and cover with boiling water. Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, finely grate in the nutmeg, the lemon zest and Parmesan, add the flour, then beat together. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, then use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture, turning carefully when nice and golden.

Put the anchovies and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a heavy based casserole, crumble in the dried chilli, and squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Finely chop and add the porcini with half their soaking water and the passata, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Squash and add the olives. Pick and reserve a few basil leaves, then chop the rest and add to the sauce.

Grate the courgettes (zucchini) in a food processor and tip into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, the juice of the zested lemon and the extra virgin olive oil.  Finely chop and add the chilli and the top leafy half of the mint, then toss together. Place the fritters on top of the sauce, then scatter over the reserved basil leaves, drizzle with balsamic and serve with lemon wedges.

* I omitted the porcini mushrooms as I don’t particularly like them. I thought the sauce was fine without them!

IMG_4660

 

Jamie Oliver’s Hot Cross Buns

IMG_0292

I am very excited to have – almost – mastered hot cross buns! In previous years when Easter approached I have sought out hot cross bun recipes looking for the “perfect” bun. Spiced, fruity and not too difficult to achieve. I have ended up with clunky door stops or miserable shriveled little balls. I even tried using a bread machine with little success…the machine is safely stowed away, gathering dust, in the back of a cupboard now.

So I thought I would give Mr Oliver a go and see what he came up with. This is from Jamie Magazine Issue 18:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=hot-cross-buns

I am very happy with the result! They taste good and even look like hot cross buns!

IMG_4028

I tweaked a little: the 220 degrees C temperature seemed very hot, so I took it down to 200 degrees C.

Also, I halved the “cross” ingredients : 50g instead of 100g flour and 25 ml water rather than 50. You can make plenty of crosses from the smaller quantities.

After tasting, I think that the fruit quantities need increasing and the spice quantity definitely needs to be more. I used cinnamon and nutmeg instead of mixed spice, too.

These latter comments are a matter of taste  – I have left Jamie’s fruit and spice quantities as is in this version, but I will be putting more of each in next time I bake hot cross buns.

Ingredients

Dough
50g sugar
7g sachet dried yeast
450g flour
2 tsp mixed spice or 1 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg.
100g mixed dried fruit
25g chopped mixed peel
Zest of 1 orange
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, melted
50ml milk, warmed

Decoration
50g flour mixed with about 25 ml water to make a dough  + 1 beaten egg for brushing

Sticky glaze
2 tbsp sugar
Juice of 1 orange

Method

Mix 1 teaspoon of the sugar with the yeast and 150ml tepid water in a jug until frothy.

Sift the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and the mixed spice into a large bowl, then add the dried fruit, peel, orange zest and remaining sugar.

Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture, then add the beaten egg, melted butter and 40ml warmed milk. Using a fork or wooden spoon, stir in a circular motion until you have a dough. Add a little more milk if the dough is too dry.

Place the dough on a clean surface dusted with flour and knead until it is smooth and glossy, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large mixing bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

IMG_0267

Knock the dough back and knead again to its original size. Divide the dough into 12 evenly sized pieces and shape into round buns. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, spaced well apart. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again until doubled in size, about 35–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.  For the decoration, place the dough or shortcrust pastry on a clean surface dusted with flour and roll into a sausage about 1cm thick. Cut the sausage in half, and cut each half into 6 pieces. Roll out each piece again to make 2 thinner, 5mm strips of about 8cm long. You should have 24 strips in total. Brush the risen buns with some of the beaten egg and lay the dough strips on top in the shape of a cross.

Brush with the rest of the beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Meanwhile for the glaze, place the sugar and juice in a pan and gently heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is bubbling. Brush the buns with the glaze.

Eat immediately with lashings of butter, or serve toasted the next day.

IMG_0351

 

Christmas Spruce Cake

IMG_3225

This beautiful cake owes it all to the mould! I have sung the praises of the fabulous Nordic ware in a previous blog:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/07/10/fancy-individual-butter-cakes/.

This Nordic ware mould called Holiday Tree Bundt Pan is like a Christmas spruce tree.

photo (8)

I found this recipe in Nigella Christmas, a cook book full of exciting Christmas treats! It’s also on Nigella’s website: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/spruced-up-vanilla-cake

It’s a simple vanilla butter cake, which can be spiced up with Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

But beware – you must grease the mould really carefully as the cake is very tricky to remove from the tin!

Ingredients
225 gms soft butter (plus more for greasing)
300 gms caster sugar
6 large eggs
350 gms plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 gms plain fat-free yoghurt
4 tsps vanilla extract and/or
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
2 tbls icing sugar

Method
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced or 170 degrees C non fan forced and put a baking sheet in at the same time.
Butter or oil the Nordic ware spruce tree mould very thoroughly. Alternatively, you could use a large 2.5 litre capacity tin.
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar into a food processor and blitz together. Pour and spoon the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly.
Place the tin on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and cook for 45–60 minutes until well risen and golden.
After 45 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Rest the cake out of the oven for 15 minutes.
Gently pull away the edges of the cake from the tin with your fingers, then turn out the cake.
Once cool, dust with the icing sugar pushed through a small sieve.

IMG_3233

%d bloggers like this: