As many of you might remember from previous blog posts – I used to belong to a *Secret Santa* type of blog swap called Secret Recipe Club (SRC) but the concept was disbanded a while back due to a number of reasons.
The great news is that they decided to re-install an annual event… so this year, I got to review the blog called Troyers Loving Life. And as I read the “about me” page, I was convinced that Kirstin was talking about me when she described herself and her favourite things (clean house without having to clean it; cooking; reading and her connection to God). She is mom to 2 daughters and has been married for 26 years (#marriagegoals as we will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this year!). I also got sucked into her home renovation posts from 2008…. probably because (kindred spirits again), we bought an apartment in 2017 and had it fully renovated before moving in… kitchen; bathrooms, walls being knocked down and new walls being built. An exciting and nerve wracking time all rolled into one!
I loved scrolling through her recipe list and drooling over different recipes like her Watermelon-Strawberry juice with Basil (but as watermelon isn’t in season, I had to veto this one); Cauliflower cheese bread which is Gluten Free and is earmarked for another day; but eventually decided that I wanted to recreate her Blueberry and Zucchini Bread recipe.
When I told HIM about this recipe, he was completely baffled … even until he took his first mouthful, he was still hesitant. But in the end, it received his stamp of approval along with mine and our 2,5year old toddler.
Would I make it again? Yes… I love how moist the bread is and although you see flecks of green, it is easy to forget that this has a vegetable in it!
One point to note is that in the Kirstin’s original recipe, she makes it into 2 loaves while I made 1 large loaf meaning that cooking time increased from 50min to 1hr20min.
Blueberry Courgette Bread
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups courgette (grated)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup frozen blueberries
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla & sugar
- Fold in the courgette
- Beat in flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon
- Fold in the blueberries
- Pour into a greased loaf tin
- Bake for 1hour 20min at 180C (or 15-20minutes if you are making into muffins)
I wonder if other people enjoy reading cookbooks as much as I do? I don’t always make everything that I see, but I can spend hours paging through each one. And sometimes, I even try to recreate the recipe (or worse… I adapt it based on my fridge/store cupboard ingredients).
Which is exactly how I managed to make this apple and blueberry cobbler, which is now a firm favourite in our household and has been repeated numerous times using different fruit!
The original recipe is a Peach Cobbler from Jamie Oliver which I had seen in Jamie’s America cookbook, but I changed the fruit portion and kept the cobbler recipe (almost) the same. It is a SURE winner and a definite “repeat” in our household.
Apple and Blueberry Cobbler
4 apples, peeled/cored & diced
1 cup of blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
juice from 1 lemon
100g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
100g butter, chilled & cut into small cubes
pinch of salt
- Place the apples, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the apples are soft.
- Remove from heat and place into an ovenproof dish along with the fresh blueberries
- To make the cobbler topping, place the flour/sugar/butter/salt into a food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
- Add 2 Tablespoons of water & pulse again – the mixture will form a dough now
- Spoon this mixture over the fruit
- Bake at 180C for 20minutes
The weather in Brussels is definitely starting to turn autumnal… with the leaves on the trees changing colour… to the most glorious shades of orange, red & yellow. And of course, the sunrise is later and the sunset earlier, the temperatures are dropping and my need for comfort food has definitely increased.
I did a quick search on the “google-box” for a savoury muffin recipe using buttermilk (which was in my fridge) and find this cheese muffin one on the Taste Magazine website (written by Abigail Donnelly).
I halved the quantity (because who can eat 36 muffins???) and it comfortably filled a 12-muffin tray. I omitted the sugar and also adapted the cheese portion by mixing grated cheddar with some grated parmesan cheese; plus added a teaspoon of paprika & a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.
This is an easy weekend baking recipe and a definite make again. And my little helper enjoyed the mixing portion as well as the eating aspect… and has happily devoured them. Those that weren’t eaten within the first 2days have found their way into our freezer for those mornings when toast or cereal just wont cut it.
Buttermilk Cheese muffins
200g grated cheese (I mixed cheddar with parmesan)
280g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried Italian* herbs (*or mixed)
125ml sunflower oil
- Beat together eggs, buttermilk & oil in a large bowl
- In another bowl, mix together flour, cheese, salt, herbs & paprika
- Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture
- Place spoonful’s into a greased muffin tray
- Bake for 18-20min at 180C
I recently enjoyed a morning baking Scones with an American friend, Angela => convincing her that they truly are easy to make (or at least I think so!). The secret is really cold butter, chaffing the dough (fold in half, turn 90 degrees and repeat) and finally – to avoid overworking the dough… the less you touch it, the better!
This is a recipe is from Paul Hollywood’s collection and is a truly tried & tested recipe that never flops!
We adapted the recipe by leaving half the dough as is and adding cheese & chopped fresh chives to the other half – a sweet & savoury collection!
500g strong white bread flour
80g softened butter
80g caster sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
- Place 450g of the flour in a bowl and rub in butter (with your fingers) until you get to a crumb consistency
- Add sugar, eggs and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon
- Add half the milk and continue to mix
- Add the rest of the milk bit by bit to make a wet dough (and you don’t need to use all the milk if you think you have achieved the correct consistency)
- Use the 50g remaining flour on the table top (half on the table top and leave the rest for the dough)
- Place dough on the floured counter top and cover with remaining flour
- Then chaff the dough (fold dough in half, then turn 90 degree’s and repeat) until the flour is incorporated into dough and consistency is smooth
- roll dough out with a rolling-pin to 2.5cm and using a cookie cutter (or a glass dipped in flour), cut out your pieces
- Bake at 200C (fan or 220C without fan) for 13minutes
A few weeks (if not months ago), I was completely inspired by an instagram post that I saw of Finla Noronha (another Belgian based food blogger with the blog “My Kitchen Treasures” which isn’t active in the blogasphere anymore – but I do recommend following her on instagram for drool-worthy food images)…
I found the recipe via google using *self raising* in my search as I have run out of normal cake flour (seriously???) on a recipe website called Naïve Cook Cooks => recipe here , however I omitted the orange butter!
It was super easy to make but my only negative comment is that by day 3 it was a bit like a stale scone… but nothing that 10 seconds in the microwave couldn’t fix 🙂
Orange Chocolate Chip loaf
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup yoghurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon orange rind
3 cups self raising flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
- Mix together milk, yoghurt, sugar, eggs, orange juice & zest
- Add flour & mix well
- fold in chocolate chips
- Pour into a greased loaf tin
- Bake for 40-45min at 190C
I have never been a huge Christmas cake or pudding fan, until recently. Or should I rather say, until I tasted the Christmas pudding Anne (my friend, Sarah’s mum) made! And now I am a convert!
Every year I think I will finally try my hand at making my own … or even my own fruit mince pies… but I never get around to doing it in time for Christmas.
But when I saw this Easy Fruit Loaf recipe in the Snowflake Book of Baking – I thought I could manage this and it didn’t have to be related to the festive season 🙂
It really is easy to make… and delicious. I would suggest checking it after an hour as I left mine in a little bit too long, making the outside a bit crunchy while the inside still remained deliciously moist and chewy with all that fruit (probably also due to the large amount of butter in it… hee hee). This is a definite make again (even HIM approved)
Easy Fruit Loaf
310g mixed fruit cake mix
1 egg, beaten
350g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place sugar, milk, butter & fruit mix in a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3minutes
- Remove from heat and leave to cool
- Add beaten egg to mixture
- Sift in dry ingredients
- Mix well
- Pour into greased loaf tin
- Bake at 160C for 60-70min
We hosted some friends for a little brunch in our new place at the beginning of January… when our apartment was still not 100% fully renovated (missing doors on kitchen cabinets & appliances; an empty living area as the couch will only be delivered tomorrow; a toilet in one bathroom and no basin, a basin in one bathroom with no toilet; half painted door frames… etc etc…)
But the oven works … as seen with the banana yoghurt loaf that I baked => so I decided to also try my hand at this herby scone bread recipe from the *Recipes from a Royal Kitchen* – a cookbook gift from my mommabear long time ago!
The secret with any scone mixture is not to work it too much, otherwise you don’t get a good rise. And normally I make mini individual scones, so I was eager to try leaving it as “one whole bread”
The Result? It had a crumbly scone texture but very tasty … and would be taken to the next level with the addition of some strong cheese in the mixture! Would I make it again. Most Probably.
Herby Scone Bread
2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon caster sugar
4 teaspoons dried herbs (or 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs)
50g butter (melted)
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon milk for glazing
- Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
- Add caster sugar, herbs & melted butter
- Add milk & mix lightly to form a soft, sticky dough
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- press into a round shape approx. 3cm thick
- Place on a greased baking tray and brush with egg/milk mixture
- Mark into 8 wedges using a knife to cut lightly into the dough
- Bake at 180C for 20min
2016 was a crazy busy year (you can read our overview here) and 2017 has started off with a whole lot of *new-ness*… New apartment, newly fitted kitchen (still waiting for the scratched counter top to be replaced and the subway tiles to go up between the counters as a backsplash) and a new car!!
But obviously the most important in terms of this blog is the new kitchen… and a new oven (brand spanking new!!) which obviously needed to be tested. So we baked a Banana Yoghurt Loaf out of the *Recipes from the Royal Kitchen* cookbook by Heilie Pienaar (South African food stylist).
Easy to make and probably ranks up there with the best of the banana bread loaves that I have ever made! And still moist and delicious on day 3 if it lasts that long!
Would I make it again? YES
Banana Yoghurt Loaf
2.5 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g butter (room temperature)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 large bananas, peeled & mashed
- Sift flour, baking powder & salt
- Rub in butter with fingertips to make a fine crumb
- Beat eggs & sugar together
- Add yoghurt to wet mixture
- Add wet mixture to dry ingredients
- Fold in mashed bananas until combined
- Bake in a grease-proof lined loaf tin for 50min at 180C
How is it the middle of December already? Things have been super crazy busy in our household… because we bought an apartment, got the keys mid November and have had builders renovating it from top to bottom since then. They are supposed to finish up today … but I don’t think the kitchen is installed yet (horror of horrors…) and we move in next week Thursday… plus a few blimps on our health levels in the last month, has left this poor blog a bit unloved.
But I am back with a recipe for apricot & coconut squares… using up some of my Dr Oetker goodie box items before we move apartments.
While packing boxes and sorting through old paperwork, I found this recipe handwritten on a small piece of paper within a birthday card from my aunt Jules (something she must have written just before she passed away in 2014) saying that she thought that I would enjoy making it. I had obviously kept the birthday card and recipe with the good intention of making it – but never did and it must have gotten filed away and forgotten until now.
Christmas time has always been a special time to reflect on the year that has passed, remember the good things and try to put all the negative thoughts & memories into the forgiveness box. It is also a time to remember those that have passed away (either in the last year or in the years before), to shed a little tear, say a little prayer and make sure that they are not forgotten.
So Jules… this one is for you… your hospitality and love for the finer things in life will never be forgotten. Your excessive generosity, love and bigger than life personality make us smile and we try to only remember you for the good years and forget the sad memories.
I added a sachet of Dr Oetker Vanilla sugar to the biscuit/cookie mix and it really added a little something extra! I also used up all the homemade apricot jam that I had made a month or so ago. This is a definite try-again & keep kind of recipe… and super easy
Apricot and coconut Squares
180g butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of Dr Oetker baking powder
1 sachet of Dr Oetker Vanilla sugar
1 jar of apricot jam (I used my own homemade version – as little or as much as you like)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
- Cream together butter & sugar
- Add egg and continue to mix
- Then add flour, vanilla sugar & baking powder & knead together
- Press into a shallow baking tray (1/4 inch thick)
- Cover with the apricot jam
- To make the topping, mix together all the ingredients & sprinkle on top of the jam
- Bake at 190C for 25min
In South Africa – these biscuits are well known as *Crunchies* but in the UK, most people would refer to them as *Oat Flapjacks*.
A crispy biscuit made of rolled oats & syrup… cut into squares and moreishly eaten with cups of tea.
(PS – the reason for the radio silence is because we were in South Africa for 2.5 weeks holiday for a friends wedding and family time, then we finalized the purchase of a new apartment and have just recently started the renovation works… along with our 13 month old monkey starting to walk… so busy busy busy!)
These biscuits are super easy to make and HIM gave them a thumbs up (which in his books is HUGE!)
The recipe comes from the Snowflake Book of Baking which Mommabear gifted to me for Easter in 2001… and I am still slowly working my way through baking every item in it! (Subsequently, I hear that the book has been out of print which is quite sad considering how popular it is!)
Crunchies (Oat Flapjacks)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
15ml golden syrup
160g rolled oats
210g caster sugar
80g desiccated coconut
- melt butter and add bicarb of soda & golden syrup
- Mix dry ingredients together & combine with melted mixture
- press into a 20x24cm greased baking tin
- Bake for 40-45min at 160C
- Removed from oven, cut into squares while still warm and leave to cool
- Store in an airtight container (if they last that long)