Carrot Cake Muffins, they’re very nearly healthy!

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 28 - 2011

I made these because Leila refuses all vegetables… I don’t see them as a viable, long-term way of increasing her veg count… I just get sick pleasures from knowing that she’s eating quarter of a carrot per muffin.  And loving it.

Because I *was* trying to make them a little healthier… my recipe goes something like this (sorry it’s in cups but I wouldn’t be without my trusty measuring cups nowadays – I hate weighing things!):

1 cup sultanas (they stay juicier than raisins)
2 cups plain flour (if you want to be healthier, substitute 1 cup for wholewheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
tiny pinch of salt
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup apple sauce (the normal kind you get in a jar for pork roasts!)
3/4 cup brown sugar (next time I’m gonna try Agave Nectar)
3 cups shredded carrots (about 6 medium whole carrots)

1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius and line a tin with paper muffin liners.

2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil and brown sugar; beat well.  Combine both wet and dry mixtures and mix briefly just to combine, don’t overmix.

4.  Fold in the carrots (I had previously pulverised them in the food processor) and sultanas before spooning the mixture into the muffin cases.

5.  Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

You can ice/frost them if you want but this will obviously KILL the healthy stance!  They’re not the sweetest treat but they’re filling and taste pretty much like carrot cake without the frosting.  Leila eats one along with her yoghurt in the morning.

Once cooled, I pop them in a tupperware box and store in the freezer.  To defrost, I just take one out and zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Perfect!  These would be great to take out of the freezer and pop in your work lunchbox too… defrosted by lunchtime and not horribly unhealthy – whoop!


Sweet Tooth? How about homemade fudge in minutes?

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 20 - 2011

No, you’re not dreaming… I’m talking sensuously sweet, toothache-inducing crumbly fudge flavoured just how you like it in under 10 minutes!

Here’s some I made earlier…

You don’t need a sugar thermometer or skills that Fanny Cradock would be proud of you just need a microwave and a handful of ingredients.

Homemade Microwave Baileys Fudge!

397g Tin of Condensed Milk
125g Butter
250g Caster Sugar
250g Soft Brown Sugar

1 1/2tsp Vanilla extract
2 tbsp Baileys

1. Grab the largest microwaveable bowl in the kitchen and add the condensed milk, butter and sugars.  No need to mix just ensure that the container is LARGE because the contents are going to bubble up furiously and splattered fudge mix is way not cool to clean off.

2. For a 900W microwave, cook the mixture on full power for 9 minutes, removing the bowl for stirring every 3 minutes.  If your microwave has a lower wattage you’ll need to cook the mixture for longer.  Add 1 minute of cooking time for every 50W less power.

3. Once the cooking time has finished, add in the vanilla extract and Baileys and beat the mixture until it begins to look smooth and glossy.

4. Transfer the fudge mixture into a 9″ square tin to cool.  You can be smart and line the tin with greaseproof paper to prevent sticking or just hook it out crumbled bits and all like I do.  Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, you can pop it in the fridge for a firmer set if required.

One of the charms (there are many) of homemade fudge is the limitless scope for wonderful flavours… I’m thinking chocolate & mint for my next batch, or maybe peanut butter or mmmmm honey and walnut?!
.
If you were to whip up a batch of fudge… what would be your flavour of choice?

Hungarian Sour Cherry Cake

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 5 - 2011

It’s Sunday, which in my world means Cake day… I haven’t decided what I’m making this week but seeing as I haven’t yet become bored of my new found love for the kitchen, I know I’m gonna enjoy making it.

Last week we had loads of leftover cherries thanks to Leila deciding that she wasn’t going to like cherries anymore.  Those things are expensive and I couldn’t take watching them slowly grow fur in the fridge.  I googled for some recipes and came across one for a tasty sounding Hungarian Sour Cherry Cake.

Now, I have no idea if my cherries were sour or not, they tasted pretty ropey so I thought they’d probably do.

1 8″ cake tin (greased and floured)

225g unsalted butter (please do use proper butter, I risked it with baking type butter and it had a distinct marg taste)
1⅓ cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon rum
2½ cups sifted plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar to decorate

2 cups fresh cherries (take the stones out)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs and combine well.

2. Add the vanilla or rum.

3. Fold the flour and baking powder into the wet mixture.

4. Pour the thick batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface.

5. Press the cherries into the batter evenly.  Just keep pushing the cherries further into the mixture until you’ve used them all up.

6. Combine the cinnamon and granulated sugar and sprinkle evenly over the cherries.

7. Place the tin in the lower middle of a preheated 170C oven (fan oven) and bake for 1hr, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

It needed more cherries… I only had 1 cup.  I ended up spreading the slices with cherry jam.  Decadent!

Have a lovely, restful Sunday!

Anti-Ageing Muffins… For Reals.

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 31 - 2011

Blueberries.

Not only are they Leila’s favourite fruit but they make amazing muffins and considering that of ALL fresh fruits, the humble Blueberry has the highest antioxidant capacity. You’d be doing yourself a massive favour by devouring as many as you can get away with before you run out of ways to kid yourself.

image source

For the sake of our skins, I thought I’d share the blueberry muffin recipe I went overboard on last weekend.  It’s quick, easy and very, very moreish.  Oh yeah, and healthy.  Honest.

This recipe makes 6 GIANT (coffee shop style) muffins… because I don’t do things by halves.  If you want a great silicone muffin tin, I really recommend these.  If you want one of those mini-muffin tins, get. off. my. blog.

250g (2 cups) plain flour
150g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (beaten)
180ml (3/4 cup) milk
115g (1/2 cup) melted butter
150g (1 cup) blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Pop your muffin liners in your tin and pre-set your oven to 150 degrees celsius (fan oven).

2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and combine the dry ingredients well.

3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter.

4. Pour the combined wet ingredients into the combined dry ingredients, stirring only until all flour is combined.  Do not over-mix.

5. Add the blueberries, again, stirring just until incorporated.

6. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and bake the muffins for 35 minutes or until golden.  Test that they’re done by inserting a toothpick or similar into the center (it should come out clean).

7. Nom.

Cheaper than face cream.

Make like Shirley Bassey and bake a Bara Brith!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 10 - 2011

I was gonna pack this post with as many random references to Wales as possible but decided in the end that I couldn’t be bothered… boyo.

With the majority of my family hailing from Cwmbran and its surrounding valleys, I know a thing or two about eating Welsh delicacies (and the Pontypool Front Row) and with that being said, I thought it was high time I had a go at concocting a Bara Brith.

I love it because it’s such a store cupboard recipe… I didn’t have to go shopping for any of the ingredients and it was in the oven within 20 minutes.

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of mixed, dried fruit (I use dates too)
1 cup of strong tea
2tsp of mixed spice
1oz of butter/margarine
2 cups of self-raising flour
1 medium/large egg

Place the sugar, dried fruit, tea, mixed spice and margarine into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time.

Once the mixture has cooled, add the flour and egg whilst beating the mixture together before pouring it into a loaf tin (greased and floured) and baking at around 170 degrees celsius (fan oven) for an hour.  At this point, insert a knife or skewer… if it comes out clear, you’re done.  If not, leave for another 10 minutes before checking again.

Let it cool on a wire rack and cut into slices, served with thick butter!

Then kiss goodbye to your diet…

I may not be the best pastry chef in the world…

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 28 - 2011

…but damn I can make a decent Hob Nob.

And now that I’ve blown my own trumpet so voraciously, it’s time to admit that these aren’t made from any recipe plucked from my brain.

These are what are known as Twinks Hob Nobs.  Twinks is a poster on MoneySavingExpert who one day, innocently unleashed her Hob Nob recipe on the world.  You can read her post and the resulting thread here.

The absolute trick to these is to not overcook them.  Take them out from the oven when they’re *just* golden and looking barely cooked.  They’ll be soft but will harden as they cool.  I usually half the original recipe and get around 15 chunky biscuits.  I turn into a total Gannet around these biccies so halving the quantity saves me from myself (sometimes).

4oz Self Raising Flour (113g)
4oz Sugar (113g)
4oz Porridge Oats (113g)
4oz Margarine/Butter (113g)
1/2 tbsp Golden Syrup
1/2 tbsp Hot Water
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Mix the flour, oats and sugar together in a bowl.  Melt the marg/butter, syrup and water in a pan.  Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and add it to dry mix.

Mix well and mould/press into smallish balls (ping pong size!) which you then put on a greased tray and flatten slightly with a fork.  Put in the oven at 170 degrees C for 12/13 mins… and leave to cool on the tray.  The aim is to get them golden in the oven and not brown.

Do give them a go if you get a minute, they taste 100x better than shop bought Hob Nobs, there’s barely any washing up and they’re done and dusted in under 30 minutes!

Back to the makeup tomorrow!  What have you been cooking up this week?

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