Blueberry Muffins

Everyone likes muffins, don’t they?   Well, I can’t understand how anyone could possibly not like muffins.   One of my favourite afternoon treats used to be to pick up a blueberry or chocolate muffin from the supermarket at lunchtime to eat during the afternoon.   When those visits to the supermarket got a little too frequent I had to make myself stop.  After all, I’ve seen the lists of fat, sugar and calories for bought muffins and they are shockingly high!   I’d like to say that these are much healthier.   I’m not a nutritionist but they are a little bit smaller, and anything you make yourself just has to be healthier, doesn’t it?   And of course they have fruit in them, which is always good.   They still have the soft inside like bought muffins and the slightly sticky outside.   Oh yes, these are good muffins.

So why have I have got around to making them before?  Well, maternity leave (at the moment) has given me a bit more time for baking so when Tina announced that for April the Crazy Cooking Challenge would be to make blueberry muffins, I knew that the time had come and I just needed to find a blogger with a recipe.  A few days later when Tandy at Lavender and Lime posted a recipe for blueberry muffins, I knew I’d found my recipe.  Tandy is a lovely South African blogger who I discovered a few months ago and she has a wonderful selection of recipes and stories connected to them on her blog so do take a look at the original recipe and post.

Ingredients – Makes about 12 small muffins

215g flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g caster sugar

75g blueberries

60g butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

120ml milk

How to Make Blueberry Muffins

1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.   Mix together.  Then stir in the blueberries.

2. Melt the butter in a microwave or small saucepan.

3. Using a fork, mix the milk into the egg and then mix in the melted butter.

4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture.  Stir it in gently so it is only just mixed in.  Don’t worry if there are any small lumps.

5. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases and spoon the mixture into the cases.

6. Bake in the oven at about 200C for 15 minutes.

7. Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

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Kiwi Fruit Ice Cream

When I was a child ice cream was either chocolate, strawberry or vanilla, and occasionally raspberry ripple.   I prefered vanilla.   I loved chocolate and strawberries but I didn’t think the ice-cream tasted of them and even today, I tend to avoid chocolate and strawberry ice cream as I associate them with the cheap ice creams of the past.

One of the only times I got to have more interesting ice cream was on holiday in Spain.   There were lots of cafes by the beach and each one would have at least 16-20 flavours.   One cafe had about 30 flavours and one of them was kiwi.   It was sharp and refreshing as well as creamy and with a very strong kiwi flavour.   I absolutely fell in love with it that holiday and ate it every day.   After I had gone home I looked forward to eating it the next year,  knowing there was no chance of being able to have it before then.   The next year came, and there was no kiwi ice cream.  I looked in every shop and cafe in Spain, well, every one I came across within walking distance of our apartment.  It seems that kiwi ice cream was perhaps not so popular with everyone else apart from me.   All those people buying chocolate ones, they just didn’t understand what they were missing out on!

Anyway, that was many years ago now and I don’t think I have seen kiwi ice cream anywhere since then.   So, when Kavey’s March Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream Challenge was to recreate a favourite childhood experience or flavour, I knew straightaway that I wanted to have a go at kiwi ice cream.

As kiwi fruit can be quite sharp I decided not to make a custard based ice cream and so did not use any eggs in this.   This makes it very quick to make but it sets slightly harder in the freezer.  I left the seeds in as I remember the ice cream in Spain being speckled with the tiny black seeds and I think they help to keep some sharpness in the flavour which mixes well with the sweetness.   If you wanted you could strain the kiwi and milk mixture to remove them.  When you eat it, it almost tastes like a mixture of coulis with plain ice cream as you taste the fruitiness of the kiwi first and then the creaminess comes in afterwards.   As I like sharp tastes I think it would also be great as a frozen yoghurt and this might be the way I would vary it next time.

I am also linking to Sweets for a Saturday.

Ingredients – Makes approx 4 servings

150ml double cream

4 kiwi fruit

2 tbsp icing sugar

100ml milk

How to Make Kiwi Fruit Ice Cream

1. Peel the kiwi fruit and chop them up.    Add the icing sugar and milk and use a stick blender to blend together.   Alternatively put in a food processor.

2. Stir in the double cream.   Taste for sweetness.   Add more icing sugar if necessary.

3. Pour into an ice-cream maker and follow the instructions for your machine.   When ready, transfer to the freezer.

365 Challenge: Curried Pork

When I first looked at this recipe I have to admit that I was sceptical.  I like to make curries by adding different spices and experimenting to get different flavours.   If a recipe just says curry powder, I imagine that it’s going to be a bit boring.   Nevertheless, I’d chosen to make this as part of the 365 Challenge so there was no getting out of it.   I knew I had to make it.    Another problem was that my lovely husband does not like dried fruit, is not keen on nuts and loves really hot and spicy curries.   I knew this dish would not suit him and so I decided to adapt it to serve just one – myself, while I also made a one person sized serving of pork vindaloo for him.   At least we would both eat the same rice!

So how was it?   I love it when I am wrong about my expectations about a dish.   I loved this so much that I made a very similar version the next day to use up some of the cream.   If my husband liked dried fruit, it would become a regular dish.   Oh well, all that cream.   Maybe it’s just as well he wouldn’t like it.

This dish is part of the 365 Challenge which is run by Murdoch Books.  The team are cooking their way through each dish in Stephane Reynaud’s 365 Good Reasons to Sit Down to Eat.  This dish has been adapted from his recipe for curried pork tenderloin.

Ingredients – serves 1

1 pork chop

1 small onion, sliced

1 carrot, cut into thin slices

10g sultanas

2 dried apricots

1 dried prune

10g flaked almonds

10g pistachio nuts

1 tsp hot curry powder

100ml stock

20ml double cream

oil

How to Make Curried Pork

1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add the onion.  Fry until softened.

2. Add the carrot, dried fruit, nuts and curry powder.   Stir then add the stock.

3. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.    Add the cream and heat through.

4. Heat some more oil in a frying pan.   Season the pork chop and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, more or less depending on the thickness.

5. Serve the pork with rice and top with the curry sauce.

Baked Figs with Brazil nuts

Recently I have picked up the fruit-baking bug – mainly apples and figs.   I’ve been happy to try any way of baking them that doesn’t take much longer to prepare than washing them.   I also have to say that cinnamon seems to go really well with any baked fruit and I have got a bit of an addition to it at the moment.  I’ve used various dried fruits, nuts and sweetners but I almost always end up with a sprinkling of cinnamon too.

 

Ingredients - serves 2

4 figs

2 tbsp chopped brazil nuts

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp sugar

How to make Baked Figs

1. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

2. Cut a cross in the top of each fig.  Pull apart a little.  Put in a baking dish.

3. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mix into the middle of each fig.  Then top with chopped brazil nuts.

4. Pour a little water into the bottom of the dish so it is about 1/2 cm deep.

5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve with natural yoghurt or vanilla ice-cream with the juice from the dish spooned over the top.