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
Instant gratification… check
Sweet tooth craving satisfied… check
Limited sharing ability… check (although mommy’s little helper did eat half of the blueberry props and ingredients)
The Big Sweet Tooth posted this recipe recently & I saw it pop up on Facebook. It was just too yummy looking to ignore …. so I clicked the link, bookmarked it and tested it out last week when the weather was miserable and I needed a quick afternoon sweet pick-me-up.
Monkey (aka Mommy’s Little Helper) got in on the action… eating the berries while I quickly whipped up the muffin/cake. I convinced myself that it was healthy because of the berries and the name *muffin*… but I am not entirely sure that this is accurate.
And it seriously is the quickest sweet fix I have ever made! Within 5minutes of breaking the egg (step 1) – I was already dipping my spoon into the cooked end product. It was delicious!
I had to adapt the recipe as I didn’t have any milk in the house – so I used a spoon of greek yoghurt. It still turned out (and tasted) ok….
Blueberry Mug Muffin
2 Tablespoons sunflower/canola oil
1 Tablespoon greek yoghurt (or milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons blueberries
- Whisk wet ingredients in a mug
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until moist
- Fold in the blueberries
- Microwave for 1min 45sec (1000 W)
- Allow to cool slightly
I had the pleasure of discovering the blog “chef in disguise” when I was part of the now defunct *Secret Recipe Club* (a monthly *secret santa* style recipe swap club). From the SRC club – I made her cheese wreath bread and then later on, I was inspired by her apricot jam post.
During June, I saw her post (and instagram image) about fluffy pumpkin pancakes… and OMG did they look delicious. I actually roasted pumpkin one evening just so that I could make these for our breakfast one Sunday morning!
HIM declared them to be the *BEST* pancakes that I had ever made – which is truly high praise from the man who normally indicates that something tastes good with a “I don’t dislike it”.
A definite make again => and enough to feed 2 hungry adults, a hungry toddler & provide a container of leftover snacks for aforementioned toddler for the next day.
1.5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- sift flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon into a large mixing bowl
- in another bowl, whisk milk, pumpkin puree, egg, butter, sugar & vanilla
- add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined
- Grease & heat a nonstick frying pan
- add a scoop of batter (approx. 1/4 cup) to the frying pan (I found that I could do 3 at a time)
- cook on a medium heat until you see bubbles forming, then flip to cook the other side
I hadn’t really heard of the term “Jambalaya” before, but Wikipedia informs me that this is a dish from Louisiana with French & Spanish influences – so think Paella influence. Normally meat with vegetables & rice… however mine was made purely with prawns and no other “meat” as such.
I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food website while doing a google-box search for a prawn recipe and adapted to my own store cupboard ingredient. Although it was a tasty dish – I am not sure that I would make it again. Firstly because the recipe makes enough for 4 portions and because we are only 2, the rest was “leftovers” for the next day – and I am not a huge fan of reheating prawns.
Having said all that – I repeat that it was still tasty!
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon piri piri
400g can chopped tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
2 garlic cloves crushed
300g prawns (thawed if frozen)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan
- Fry onion & celery for 5min
- Add rice, spices, garlic, tomatoes & chicken stock
- Cover with a lid & simmer for 30min until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed (add more liquid if needed)
- Stir in the prawns – until cooked through
- Stir in parsley & serve
Trying to eat a little bit healthier… and that also means making a few more items from scratch as opposed to utilizing ready-made items (like frozen box fish in whatever form it may come).
I have also been receiving the HelloFresh box for a couple of months now and sometimes by the end of the week, I start getting creative with the last meal ingredients (i.e. not following their recipe at all!!)
And on top of that – I had a bit of a craving for fish cakes – so I did my usual search on the BBC Good Food website and landed up making these => the entire process was somewhat time consuming (started with cooking the fish in milk & boiling the potatoes at 5.30pm… and only sat down to eat at 8.00pm… but having said this, I had also made Monkey French toast for dinner, read to her, bathed & put her to bed – so this did skew my timings somewhat – but I do believe that this was when items were *cooling* or *chilling in the fridge*)
Would I make these again – yes, but I would probably increase the ratio of fish to potato (currently almost 50/50… to a 75/25) so that they are more fishy. Plus I would like to remember to season the mix with salt/pepper before making the cakes & frying them. I served mine with lemon juice drizzled rocket (and the fish cakes) & some oven roasted carrots & potato wedges. There was enough fish cakes for 3 adults (2 each) plus 1 child portion.
450g white fish (no bones)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons mixed chopped parsley/chives
flour (for shaping)
- Place fish, bay leaves, milk & water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower heat & simmer for 4min. Remove from heat & stand covered for 10min
- Meanwhile, peel & chop potatoes. Cover with water & pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10min or until tender. Drain & mash
- Drain fish & flake into mash with herbs & lemon zest – mix until combined and leave to cool
- Beat an egg on one large plate, place flour on a board & breadcrumbs on another large plate. (I used 2 slices of bread with crusts cut off to make breadcrumbs & this was a sufficient amount)
- Divide fish cake mixture in 6-8 equal portions
- Shape fish cakes on the floured board, then into egg mixture & finally into breadcrumbs
- Transfer to a plate, cover & chill for 30min
- heat oil in a large frying pan
- Fry fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5min on each side
Can you believe that I have never attempted to make Panna Cotta before? HIM has a tendency to order this dessert when we go out for dinner sometimes… but claims it isn’t his favourite 🙂
I had visions of it being really difficult – when in reality, there are very few ingredients and the steps are pretty easy.. so 10/10 for a future dessert making choice! I adapted this recipe from the BBC Good Food website.
PLUS – I was inspired to make something similar to the dessert that I had while I experience *Dinner in the Sky* earlier in the week. AND I had 3x500g of Strawberries to us up after spending Saturday morning picking them at Marie’s Garden in Overijse. We ate one container… I made jam with the 2nd container and the 3rd container was for the coulis topping of this Panna Cotta.
Make again? Definitely! It makes 5 generous portions… and is a great make ahead dessert.
Strawberry Panna Cotta
3 Gelatine leaf
500ml double cream
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 1/2 teaspoon cornflour
50g caster sugar
- Place gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water to soften for approx. 5 minutes
- Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and place in a saucepan with cream, milk & sugar
- Heat gently until hot (not bubbling) and then remove from heat
- Remove gelatin from water, squeeze out excess liquid & add one at a time to the hot cream
- Stir until dissolved
- Stand for 20-30min until cooled
- Strain mixture and pour into serving glasses
- Chill for at least 3hr
to make the topping
- using a hand held blender, blitz the washed, hulled & cut strawberries in a bowl
- Strain liquid to remove seeds
- Place in a saucepan with cornflour & sugar
- Place over a medium heat for approx. 5min until juices thicken
- Set aside to cool
- Once completely cool – top the set panna cottas with the strawberry mixture
- Chill until ready to serve
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
Generally I make up a pot of chili con carne and serve it over rice… but one night, I decided to rather incorporate everything into one pot and which lead to my version of a “Mexican Rice and Beans“.
An easy(ish) mid-week meal that tastes great!
And of course, Mommy’s little helper got in on the action as well 😉
Mexican Rice and Beans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed
tin of tomato paste
425g tin of red kidney beans (I like to use the variant that is already in chilli sauce)
1 green pepper – diced
200g tin of sweetcorn
500ml stock (I prefer to use chicken stock – which means that this isn’t vegetarian)
1teaspoon brown sugar
1 and half cups long grain rice
- Heat frying pan over a medium heat
- Add cumin, allspice, chilli flakes and paprika and *dry fry* for about a minute to release the flavours
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and spices and cook for 2-3minutes
- Add garlic and rice and cook for a further minute
- Add the tomato paste, passata, sugar and stock
- Bring to the boil
- Reduce the heat and add beans, green pepper & sweetcorn.
- Simmer, covered for 15-20minutes, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked
Probably one of the simplest recipes that I have ever encountered and completely inspired by Marie Gourmandise – whose Instagram photos are always so beautiful, light and simple but utterly delectable! I was even lucky enough to sit next to her at a Smartmat blogger event 2years ago.
One of the upsides to Monkey growing up is that she can now help me a bit in the kitchen… or at least it is *helping* in her vocabulary, while in mine it is sometimes a case of her stealing & eating my props while I attempt to take a photo …. but those hands… aren’t they too cute??? (yes – I am biased!) But this might just become a trend …
In general – I have made this pastry wreath about 3 or 4 times already and each time, tweaking it a bit – which means that you too can adapt accordingly.
Courgette & Feta pastry wreath
1 pre-made pastry
1 medium courgette/zucchini/baby marrow – sliced (whatever you call it in your own country)
1 tub boursin – I used the herby version (but any cream cheese version will work)
1/2 block of feta – cubed
- lay the pastry on a greased piece of baking paper on your baking tray
- as the pre-made pastry that I had purchased was already round – I only had score the edges and make a star shape cuts in the centre. Be careful that you leave a ring around the centre uncut as this is where your filling will go
- spoon the cream cheese (boursin) around your uncut ring, top with slices of courgette & feta
- Fold the pastry over the filling starting with the outside first (see images above for direction)
- Egg wash if you like… I don’t as I find it browns/burns too quickly
- Bake for 20-25minutes at 200C
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