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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Kaju Katli – Indian Cashew Fudge

I’ve never made fudge before and so it might be natural to start with a more traditional chocolatey fudge.   Of course, this is not what I decided to do.  Pregnancy has put me off sweet things and I know with Christmas coming up I’m going to have lots of chance to eat chocolate whether I want to or not.   Well actually, I always want to, it’s only afterwards that I regret it.   But what else is Christmasy besides chocolate?    Nuts of course,   and so I set about finding a recipe for a nutty fudge.  I came across this recipe on Richa’s blog, Hobby and More and I knew straightaway that it was the one I wanted to make.  The fudge was cut into cute little diamonds with a pistachio on top of each piece.  Richa has been blogging for about 4 years and her blog focuses on healthy vegan recipes, many of them Indian.  This particular fudge could also be made with almonds or peanuts or with a different spice instead of cardamom.   Because it looks so pretty, it also makes a great homemade Christmas present.

One of the reasons I decided to make fudge this week was so I could take part in Tina’s Crazy Cooking Challenge at Mom’s Crazy Cooking.  The idea behind it is that each month there is a theme and bloggers search other blogs to find a recipe to make and post about.

I was amazed that my finished fudge looked exactly the same as in the original picture.  Taste and texturewise, I would describe it as being similar to marzipan but with a subtle hint of cardamom.  I found as I was mixing in the ground cashew to the sugar, that the mixture began to solidify before all the cashew was mixed in and so I added about 1/2 tbsp of water and that allowed it to keep a soft dough-like texture and for all the ground cashew to be added.

Ingredients

120g raw cashew nuts

100ml water

3 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 cardamom pod

How to make Indian Cashew Fudge

1. Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan and leave to boil.   Don’t stir or it will crystallise.

2. Put the cashew nuts in spice grinder or blender and grind to a powder.

3. Remove the seeds from inside the cardamom pod and crush to a powder using a pestle and mortar.

4. Stop boiling the sugar when it begins to form threads when you dip a spoon in.   Take off the heat.   Add a pinch of the ground cardamom.    Then the ground cashew and stir in quickly.   It should be the consistency of a thick dough.  Add a splash of water if it won’t all combine.

5. Put the dough onto greaseproof paper and flatten until it is about 1/2 to 1 cm thick.   Leave to cool for half an hour in the fridge.

6. Cut into diamond shapes and top each one with a pistachio.   Store in a cool place.

To see what other people have made for the fudge challenge click on the link below:

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Blueberry Cheesecake

There is something I love about cheesecake.   No, not just something, lots of things.   Firstly, I love the biscuit base.   It has to be biscuit.   Why does anyone make anything else?   If you’ve experienced the disappointment of ordering cheesecake in a restaurant for it then to come with a sponge or pastry base, you’ll know exactly what I mean.   I also love the creaminess of it.    Creaminess but in a cheesy way.   I’ve also been disappointed by ordering a cheesecake that managed to provide a tasty biscuit base but then topped this with a mixture that tasted like little more than whipped cream.    And finally, I like fruit in or with my cheesecake, not chocolate.    So you see, I’m not picky.     Of course, I will eat all of these creations, and may even like them, but they are not going to satisfy my ultimate cheesecake cravings.   Sometimes when you know exactly what you want, you have to make it yourself, and that’s what I did here.   And I’m rather proud of my very first cheesecake, inspired by BBC Good Food.

I stuck with their recipe for the base, but for the filling I used blueberries instead of raspberries.   I also only had two eggs left so I missed out the extra egg yolk.    It may have made a difference, but not one that I could taste.   So now I’ve dipped my toe in the world of cheesecakes, expect a few more over the coming months.    I may even break my principles and make a chocolate one.    But don’t worry,   I’ll never venture near a sponge base.

I am submitting this to Sweets for a Saturday.

Ingredients – Serves 12

600g cream cheese

150ml sour cream

100g blueberries + extra to serve

8 digestive biscuits

50g butter

2tbsp plain flour

175g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

How to Make Blueberry Cheesecake

1. Put the biscuits in a food processor to make into crumbs or put in a food bag and bash with a rolling pin.   Melt the butter and mix into the crumbs.  Then put into the bottom of a cheesecake tin (about 23cm) and press down.   Bake for 10 minutes at about 180C.

2. In a large bowl put the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla essence, flour and sugar.  Whisk briefly until smooth.   Add 100g blueberries and mix in.

3. When the base has cooled.   Add the cream cheese mixture and return to the oven.   Bake for 40-45 minutes.   It should still be a little wobbly in the middle but set around the edges.

4. Leave to cool in the tin then serve with the extra berries.