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These muffins are little pockets of lemony-coconut magic. They have a level of moistness usually only found in friands.

The uncooked muffins are topped with shredded coconut, cooked, and then have lemon syrup poured on top. This gives them this amazing crunchy-sour-sweet thing going on.

I didn’t make these muffins. Last week I moved back to Melbourne from London and was too busy, well, moving in to my new apartment, to bake.

But my friend Megan (who has posted on here previously) rocked up on my door step and filled my freezer with a variety of muffins (oh yes, more than one type) to tie me over until I could get baking again. How lovely is that?

Oh, and she bought wine, cheese and a few baking basics to get me started. Yea, I know! I’d marry her too if I was that way inclined.

These lemon syrup and coconut muffins were so pretty and tasty I asked her to write up the recipe for me.

My new oven and I are currently eyeing each other up like two cowboys in a western. I can literally here the spurs on our boots rustling as we start our ten paces. So while I stand in my kitchen staring at my oven crazy-like over a glass of wine, here is Megan’s write up.

Take it away Megan!…

When life hands you lemons, make muffins!

This lovely, moist muffin recipe comes via an old work mate, Maggie, who used to keep me really well fed with a variety of yummy soups, desserts and pickles and jams.

You’ll need two lemons for this recipe to get enough juice and rind.

Ingredients
2 cups self-raising flour
90 grams butter, at room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon grated lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup coconut cream or milk
2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Lemon syrup
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat an oven to 190 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl, rub in butter with your fingers. Stir in sugar, coconut, rind, egg and coconut cream.
  3. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle with the shredded coconut and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden.
  4. To prepare lemon syrup: Combine all ingredients in pan, stir over heat, without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for two minutes without stirring.
  5. Pour hot lemon syrup over hot muffins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool. Makes 12

Healthy? 270 calories a muffin.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

If you like your brownies like one big slab of moist chocolate filled with chocolate chips and macadamias then look no further. Bookmark this page, hand across my heart I tell you this is the best recipe ever.

If you like your brownies a bit lighter and cake-like, then go google cake recipes this is no place for you and your namby pamby brownie ideas.

Thank you to my cousin Michelle, and her co-worker Katherine who penned the recipe.

Just check out the ingredients you’ll need (I doubled the recipe, so your quantities won’t be quite so much).


Place sugar and flour in a bowl, and add your beaten eggs.

Melt your butter and dark chocolate on a super low heat.


That’s real chocolate right there.

Now add that to your bowl too. Stir well.

Fold through the milk choc chips, white choc chips and optional macadamia.


The spoon-cam says it all really.

Put it in a greased tray. Bake it. Eat it. Eat some more. Stop. You will start feeling sick.

This is going to be my last post for a little while as I’m due to get on an aeroplane any day now as I am moving back to Melbourne. I have a few minor things to sort out, job, house, car, life. You know, those little pesky things.

Very excitedly, I have a couple of boxes of kitchen goods waiting for me in a storage unit. Oh the joy of it! More than one mixing bowl! Electric beaters! Different plates! I’ll be back…

Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g butter chopped
200g dark chocolate
150g white chocolate chopped
100g milk chocolate chopped
Optional: 100 grams of chopped macadamia nuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper. Tip: If you spray the tin with olive oil before the paper it makes it easier to line.
  2. Place flour, sugar and beaten eggs in a bowl, stir well.
  3. Melt dark chocolate and butter. WAIT! It’s very easy to burn chocolate while melting it. A lot of recipes tell you to use a water bath. A lot of effort. I don’t bother. As long as you keep it on a super low temperature on the stove and stir it as you go, you should be right. With that in mind, place your chopped butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan on the stove on a very low heat. Stir Stir Stir. The butter will start to melt. The melted butter will start to melt the dark chocolate. Take the saucepan off the heat before all the chocolate is melted and let the heat of the melted butter and chocolate finish it off. Better safe than sorry, you can always return to the heat.
  4. Pour the dark chocolate and butter mixture into your bowl with the flour-egg mix and stir well.
  5. Fold through your milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and optional macadamias. Eat some batter. Nom Nom.
  6. Pour in to your prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. This was my first time making brownies and I was a bit concerned about when I’d know they were done. I looked up what Jamie Oliver said on the matter which helped me hugely “You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares.” Thanks Jamie! When you jiggle your brownie tray the middle should move a little.
  7. Eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or serve with ice cream for dessert. Makes 15 pieces.

Healthy? There is nothing healthy about this. 300 terrible-but-totally-worth-it calories a slice if you cut them into 15 pieces.

Gluten free: Brownies are easily adapted to a gluten free flour mix. Just switch out the flour for your favourite substitute.

Storage: They keep well in an airtight container. Padlock and key are handy too.

Here are some important things to know about scones:

(Points 4 & 5 and the most poignant for me.)

  1.  An original ‘proper’ scone was about the size of a dinner plate, made of oats and baked on a griddle.
  2. Then it was cut into the triangle like shapes you see today, which are called scones. The large round cake was referred to as a bannock.
  3. Another common variety is the dropped scone which just requires you to literally grab a chunk of batter and fry it or cook it on ya griddle. Or, the oven.
  4. I learnt to make scones at a one day bread making course at the old Convent Bakery in Melbourne. The baker was totally hot.
  5. They’re yum.

This recipe was the one given to me at my baking course. The hot baker used what I’d called the drop method. His words were something like ‘scones should be rustic looking, just grab handfuls of dough and chuck it on your tray’.

So I follow his cooking method because he seemed very hot wise.

Dropped on the tray, waiting to be cooked.

Ingredients
400 grams self raising flour (about 3 heaped cups)
30 grams sugar (about 2 ½ tablespoons)
2 pinches of salt
40 grams butter, softened
1 cup milk
Optional: 80-100 grams raspberries, blueberries, sultanas or chocolate chips
Optional: dash of cinnamon

(I used 100 grams of raspberries and a dash of cinnamon)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 C. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl
  3. Fold through the butter to make the mixture like bread crumbs, then add milk
  4. Don’t over mix, gently bring all ingredients together, add your optional flavouring
  5. Place handfuls of dough on trays (as pictured above)
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden on top. Makes about 12.

Best served hot, with lots of butter, jam and cream!

Healthy? Plain scone with no flavour is about 155. With raspberries they’re 160, with sultanas about 185.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

References:
1.    Wikipedia
2.    The hot baker at  Convent Bakery

Here’s a lovely thing. Heavy, dough like muffins with a cheesy spicy flavour and crispy polenta baked on top.

They’re not your average muffin. If you throw one at someone while they’re not paying attention it’ll hurt (I said I was sorry, I really thought they were looking at me).

Easy as pie to make.  Easier in fact, as pie is much harder to make than muffins (oh, come on, I had to say it!).

No need to stand on ceremony with these muffins. You just throw all your ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. It’s a good bicep workout.

Then spoon the mixture in to your prepared muffin tray.

And sprinkle the polenta on top.

Easy. And also quite low on calories. Bonus!

Ingredients
1 egg
3/4 water
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups grated lite cheese
1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced (I go for the ones in the jar that are already pitted and sliced, but cutting them up from scratch would be lovely)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, or slice a whole dried chilli very finely
2 tablespoons polenta (cornmeal)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Mix together all ingredients except cornmeal. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more of water if needed – I often find it does. The mixture will be very solid and dough like.
  3. Spoon in to your well-greased muffin pan and sprinkle with the polenta. Press down on the top of each muffin slightly to help the polenta stick to the muffin.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Makes 12 smallish muffins.

Note: The muffins are quite small, but I wouldn’t recommend making fewer and larger muffins. As they’re quite solid, the small size and crispy top works well. Best served warmed.

Healthy? At 130 calories they’re a good little snack.

Gluten free? No, and I haven’t tried adapting.

Storage:  They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Source: modified from the Muffin Bible olive & chilli muffins.

Lemon polenta biscuits

Five reasons why polenta would beat you in a fight TO THE DEATH!

  1. Stealth: almost impossible to find in the supermarket and never in the same place twice. Will it be with the polish food? In the Jewish section? I’ve seen it with the pasta and the flour. No one knows.
  2. Camouflage: it’s cornbread, no, it’s a pizza, no, it’s a deep fried side, then while you’re off to get a napkin it’s GONE!
  3. Skills: Polenta can easily fluff up with a bit of hot water, but in a biscuit can keep its form and stay crunchy. Even though it’s baked. Brilliant.
  4. Alliances: Vegetarians, tick. Coeliacs (in it’s basic form), tick. Unsuspecting children, tick.
  5. You will underestimate it: derived from grain mush, classed as peasant food, even called gruel, it knows how to play down play it’s abilities until it’s too late for you…

When I get in to something I really get into something. And lately I’ve been reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’ve polished off two books in seven days and am just starting the third.

Consequently my entire being has been overtaken with thoughts of terrible fights to the death, corrupt governments and evil survivor style games. I’ve walked in to people in the tube in my refusal to put my kindle down and cooked a whole risotto while reading.

Considering I usually cover my eyes during surgery scenes in Grey’s Anatomy, I’m shocked at myself.

And as far as polenta goes. I’m just saying. Watch your back.

I modified this recipe from a little unknown chef called Jamie Oliver.

Now if you excuse me, I have a book to read.

Just a side note, a week after publishing this I finished the series. As I say in this post I was really taken in by the first book and beginning of the second. But in this bloggers’ humble opinion, the third book completely let down the series. But in the words of Ben Folds “some guy on the net says I suck, and he should know he’s got his own blog…”

So make up your own mind!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups medium non-instant polenta or yellow cornmeal
170 grams (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

Method
Note: the below method is from the original Jamie Oliver recipe. I just mixed it by hand (didn’t use a food processor) and never chilled it in the fridge. It was fine.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°. Line several baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine the polenta with the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the eggs and pulse just until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Using two teaspoons, drop slightly rounded teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. They will spread, so make sure you give them space.
  5. Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and on the bottoms.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 36.

Healthy: 80 calories a biscuit.

Gluten free: swap out the flour and it is.

Storage: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.