Marvellous Moreish Muffins

I haven’t actually been in the kitchen very much of late as my lovely hubby has been cooking up a succession of delicious curries and Thai dishes for us, I’m hoping he’ll guest spot here one day with his fabulous spicy pork salad but up till now he can’t be persuaded.

That said I have been allowed in to make the odd dessert or two and I have found one of the simplest and most reliable muffin recipe I’ve ever used. And this is what I’m going to share today. This is a quick bake too- no more than 30 minutes start to finish.

This is so simple and delicious that it’s great for novice bakers, kids and old hands alike, and the variety of flavours are as limitless as your imagination!

I will start by giving the plain muffin mix recipe and method then go through a few variations after. These ingredients are enough for 6 large muffins. If you happen to have run out of muffin cases then it works just as well in cupcake cases and you will get 10 ( guess how I found that out!)

Marvellous Moreish Muffins.

In a Bowl

150g Plain Flour
1tsp baking powder

In a large Jug

1 egg
60g sugar
2tbsp oil
100ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
ingredients (Now for the chocoholics amongst us if you want to make chocolate sponge as well, simply replace 25g of your flour with cocoa powder)
Mix the egg,milk, oil and sugar together in the jug.

Pour the egg mixture into the bowl gradually and mix until combined *
IMG_3232
Spoon mixture into cake cases and put the tray in the oven at 160C for 20 until set and cracked at the top if not quite set put back in for a further 5-10 mins
So the plain muffins are delicious, but they are well, plain so let’s have some fun!

*Just before you spoon the mixture into the cups is a great time to start being creative. You can add just about anything here, chunks of fruit, chocolate, nuts or combinations of all 3 of those things. I have found that around 100g of ‘extras’ is about right, but if you are adding things like oats or desiccated coconut you may need a tiny bit more milk as they will absorb some of the moisture in your mix.
IMG_3233
(Now for the chocoholics amongst us if you want to make chocolate sponge as well, simply replace 25g of your flour with cocoa powder)

Here are a few flavours I’ve already tried;
Oatmeal honey and raisin
Apple and cinnamon
Chocolate chunk
Chocolate cranberry and coconut.
Marvellous Moreish Muffins
I’m quite sure I’ll be making more, I’m already tempted for a chocolate and orange, but do let me know what flavours are your favourite.

A Bientôt

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HillyWillys Homemade Haggis

Well it’s that time of year again when all the Scots around the world get slightly stronger accents, forget the weather and long for home.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Yes it’s Burns night, so to all my compatriots across the globe, Slaintemhath.

Anyway….. The reason for this post is not just a rose coloured reminisce, but to give you all an easy ( and non stomach churning ) haggis recipe should you want to try this wonderful Scottish delicacy.

Traditionally a haggis is made with what is called a sheep’s ‘pluck’. Those of you with tender dispositions should look away now. The ‘pluck’ comprises of the heart, liver, kidney and lungs of the sheep. To make a haggis the pluck is minced up with onions, oatmeal and seasoning then stitched back into sheep’s washed out stomach lining, sewn up and steamed for around 5 hours.

Having once been party a traditional haggis cooking session I can assure you that this is not for the feint of heart or indeed stomach and I will NEVER be doing it again. ( I can still remember the smell vividly after 7 years.)

This recipe is a lot more palatable to the modern-day cook and won’t take half a day to cook either. In my opinion the results are just as delicious and will make enough haggis for around 6 people.

HillyWillys Homemade Haggis

ingredients
250g lambs liver*
250g shredded suet*
350g oatmeal
1 large onion
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to season
500ml vegetable stock

*for a Vegetarian option in place of liver use

*150g of shredded mushrooms
*100g of mashed kidney beans
*250g vegetable suet

No Burns supper is complete without the accompanying bashed tatties and neeps so you will also need

1kg potatoes
2 large yellow turnips
A little Butter and cream to mash.
First gently fry off the liver in a pan with a little oil till brown and firm. Remove from the heat and allow to cool then grate into a large bowl.

Grate cooked liver

Place the oats into a large dry pan and heat,stirring frequently, until toasted, then add to the liver.
Toast oats and cook onion
Finely chop the onion and cook with 50 g of suet for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and begins to turn translucent then add the rest of the suet to the pan and melt. When fully melted pour into the bowl and mix well.
add onion and suet  to the bowl
Add your cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper and 500 ml of vegetable stock and stir the mixture.
grease foil
Now take a large piece of foil and brush generously with oil. Place about half of your mixture in the centre of the foil and shape into a large sausage then bring the sides of the foil to the middle and gently twist the ends (it looks rather like an enormous Christmas cracker at this point) and fold the ends to the middle.

wrap haggis

Now wrap again in foil and place in a large oven proof dish.
Repeat this step for the rest of your mixture.

place in large dish

Pour boiling water into the dish to about half way and place the dish in a hot oven (225 degrees) and cook for an hour and a half. Don’t forget to check the water levels in your dish throughout the cooking time and top up as needed.

After about an hour set your potatoes and turnips ( in seperate pans) to boil.

Once they are boiled mash the potatoes with a little cream and butter, and mash the turnip with just a little butter.
unwrap
Remove the haggis from the oven and take from the dish. Carefully remove the foil and serve up with the bashed tatties and neeps and a little onion gravy.
Haggis Basht tatties and neeps
Of course if you’re doing this properly you will address the haggis before eating with the words of Rabbie Burns himself.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

This is the much abbreviated version, (the full text can be found here), because I just can’t wait to start eating it 🙂

A Bientot and ( for today only ) Scots Wah hae!

Oatmeal Apple Biscakes

Well I have to start this post with an apology. I’m sorry there has been such a gap between posts, we have suspended all but essential kitchen activity over the last week or so due to the appearance of a small battalion of hungry mice. The necessary upheaval has take quite a toll on my baking efforts ( that combined with a weekend trip to Barcelona to celebrate my best friends birthday has left little time to bake and post). The ‘squeaky situation’ is ongoing, but we are hopeful that our efforts will soon reap the required results.

So finally, it’s time for the recipe……

Whenever I make porridge I always make too much. With the best of intentions I pot up the remainder and pop it in the fridge intending to use it the very next day. I never do.

That said, this time I actually did.

I took a fancy for some thing biscuitty to go with my afternoon coffee, but there was nothing in the cupboard that fitted the bill so it was on with the apron.

Honey, Apple and Oatmeal Biscakes
(because they are not exactly biscuits and not exactly cakes)

250g of flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g of Butter
125g of Sugar
1 Egg ( beaten )
100g pre cooked Porridge
1 tbsp Clear Honey
1 Apple.
50g of Oats ( to roll biscuit dough in )
Mix together flour and baking powder then rub in the butter. ( It’s far easier and quicker to do this in a food processor ).

Stir in the sugar then add the beaten egg and mix well.

It’s now time to add your cold porridge to the mixture.

Now the debate rages ( in certain households of my acquaintance ) as to the perfect consistency for porridge and this is not a debate which I intend to enter into here. But what I will say is this ; Thick but pourable. If your your porridge is too wet you will need to add more dried oatmeal or your biscuit dough will be too runny, if it’s too dry your dough will not not be elastic enough so you will need to add a little milk.

Mix apples with the dough

Put a tablespoon of clear honey in a small bowl. Core, peel and finely dice your apple and add to the honey. Stir well to coat the apple pieces. Once this is done add the honey and apple to the dough and mix well.

Place the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

This is a very sticky dough so be prepared to get your hands dirty.

sprinkle with sugar

Roll dough into balls about the size of a cherry tomato then roll in dried oats. Place on baking tray and squish down with your hand to flatten them. Sprinkle the tops with white sugar.

Bake in a 170 degree oven for 12- 15 minutes until golden brown on the top. Leave them on the tray for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack until you can resist no more. 🙂

cool then eat!

A Bientôt