Wholemeal Spiced Cherry & Wheatgerm Muffins

In a muffin mood today.. So I thought I would concoct some using some frozen cherries I had remaining and they turned out well! I wanted to pack in some extra fibre, so added wheatgerm too. Once again, I did not do ‘real’ measuring, just used my large Cath Kidson mug and hoped for the best!

I had a little assistance today from my two year old boy too & he did a great job mixing and tipping and sprinkling!

Ingredients

Dry
1 & 1/2 mugs wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 mug wheatgerm
1/2 mug light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wet
1 mug milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1/4 mug rapeseed oil (or equivalent)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond essence

Other
3/4 defrosted frozen dark cherries

Topping
Mix a small handful of porridge oats, golden demerara sugar and cinnamon together.

Method

Preheat oven to 180° fan. Prepare muffin tin with paper cases.

Sieve dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Mix.

Whisk wet ingredients in another bowl.

Gently add wet ingredients to dry in the large mixing bowl and combine until all mixed. If it’s a little stodgy, add a drop more milk.

Add cherries and stir in.

Spoon mixture into cases 3/4 way up case.

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Sprinkle some of the topping on each muffin (or get a small helper to do this!)

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Whack in oven for around 20 minutes until deliciously risen and golden.  Try gently sticking a wooden cocktail stick in the centre of a muffin and if comes out clean, it’s done!

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Leave to cool on wire rack for a few minutes before trying one with a large cuppa tea!

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They were obviously a hit with my children as I came back to the kitchen and someone had eaten ALL the muffins! Hmm.

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Eton Mess cake

Feeling a little out of sorts today after my eldest went off on his first school trip away, so decided to try bake my sadness away!

I wanted to make Eton Mess cakes for a while, but decided to Google to see if such a thing existed. I went with a traybake on Good Food here.

I didn’t have enough meringue or strawberries for the top, couldn’t find my nice vanilla essence or icing sugar (until later!) so I subbed the vanilla for almond & made do with one measly meringue to crumble!

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Fresh out of the oven.. It definitely needs more sliced strawberries & meringue on top!

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We found icing sugar in the back of the cupboard and gave it a sprinkle! Think it looks more Eton Messy now!

It’s very yummy, & one to make again. I would like to try making one with various other fruits or berries, and using vanilla essence too.

Tip runs & Saucy Squirrels

Five for today

1)  Declutter filled up back of car with piles of household rubbish & went to tip. Feels good to be making a little progress.

2) A good find – whilst at tip I spotted a pile of books someone had thrown into the skip that as destined for incineration, why they weren’t donated to charity I have no idea. I saw old Ladybird books which made me feel sad as they are quite sought after but they’d been squashed down by other rubbish. However, on the top I saw this pristine book & asked if I could take it.

It’s by Woodrow Wyatt The Exploits of Mr Saucy Squirrel and I think it’s a first edition from 1976! (as old as me!)

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3) Homemade bolognese – My chap makes a wicked bolognese from  scratch & that’s what we had tonight! Yum! Beats any stuff from a jar!

4) Growing – Sylvie had to have her seat belt adjusted as she’s moved up a notch! Bittersweet as I love having a little baby, but excited as she’s growing strong & it’s all because of my milk! I still find it amazing how it all works!

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5) The Voice – I don’t watch soaps or much TV really, but I love watching this!  I look forward to it all week & I’m excited to watch the second part of battles tonight! Plus I do love Sir Tom Jones twinkly eyes! 😉

Foos, Food, & Family

Five things for today.

1)In the kitchen – made a Herby butternut squash & chickpea soup, and Butternut Squash, orange & sultana muffins with leftover squash. Recipe on previous post.

The two small boys helped me too!

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2) Foo Fighters

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Put Sylvie in her brother’s old Foo Fighters vest! Loved seeing it being worn again!

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3) Merangos
Had a sweet treat after dinner of meringue, Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream & berries. Yum! Albie calls them Rangos so we renamed them “Merangos”!

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4) Texts – had a text from a friend who is very close to having her second baby & hoping for a home birth! Really excited for her & hope she gets a dream labour and delivery. I’d have loved a home birth but it wasn’t meant to be, but I think they are wonderful! Looking forward to an announcement!

5) Brothers – they drive each other spare a lot of the time & I’m always refereeing squabbles… But they really do love each other. This pair below in particular have a good bond, but clash too! I love watching my children interact (on a good day!) – it makes having a large family all the more worth it.

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Butternut squash, Orange & Sultana muffins

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Made a soup today and had a pile of extra butternut squash left over, so thought I’d try make some muffins with it! I didn’t do very accurate measuring & veer between ounces & grams I’m afraid as I tend to wing it…however they worked a treat! So here goes…

Ingredients

Approx. 12oz butternut squash peeled & chopped
400g (ish!) self raising white & wholemeal flour
300g (ish!) light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
150ml approx. ricebran oil
Zest & juice of a small orange
Pinch salt
Handful of sultanas
Sprinkle of golden caster sugar.

Preheat oven to 180°c.

Place chopped butternut squash in pan of cold water (enough to cover), bring to boil for around 20 minutes until tender. Drain.

I used a food processor for the remainder of recipe, but you could do it manually.

Add squash to food processor and blend until smooth.
Add sugar, eggs, oil & blend until just mixed.
Add orange zest & juice.
Add flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon. Blend until mixed.

My mixture was a little runny so I sprinkled a bit more flour into mix.

Stir in handful of sultanas.

Spoon mixture into cases. Sprinkle golden caster sugar on each muffin.

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Bake for around 20/25 minutes.

Leave to cool on rack. Eat!

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This mixture was enough to do 12-16 large muffins I reckon. I made 12 large & 16 mini muffin bites.

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Wholemeal dark cherry and almond muffins

Tried adapting my smashing strawberry muffin recipe and I am pleased with the results! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
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Ingredients
3/4 large mug of dark cherries (I used frozen & defrosted)
10oz wholemeal self-raising flour
2oz ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
6oz caster sugar
2tsp almond essence
7tbsp oil – I used ricebran oil
2 medium eggs
Splash of milk
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180°c.

Squash & mash the cherries in a large bowl.

Add oil, sugar & eggs to cherries – mix well. Add almond essence. Mix.
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Add sifted flour, ground almonds, baking power, salt – mix well. Add splash of milk if mixture appears a little dry. I used approximately a tablespoon.

Line muffin trays with cases & spoon mixture in 3/4 full. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar if desired.

Bake for 20/25 minutes or until risen & golden brown.

Leave to cool on a rack. Or eat warm & enjoy with a nice cuppa!

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Smashing Strawberry muffins

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I love baking muffins as you can probably tell by now if you read this blog! So, today I baked two batches, some Italian Courgette cakes with added blueberries & these Smashing Strawberry muffins. I’m hoping these will be good for packed lunches & might try freezing one to see how they fare so I can batch bake them.

I didn’t have fresh strawberries but did have frozen which I thawed.

I used a large Cath Kidson sized mug for my measuring by the way! Sorry my quantities are a little haphazard!

Ingredients

1 & half mugs of self-raising flour
1 mug of strawberries (I used thawed frozen ones)
Just under 3/4 mug of caster sugar
1/3 mug vegetable oil
2 medium eggs
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180°C (mine is a fan oven)

Smash the strawberries up with a fork or masher in a large mixing bowl. Feeling grumpy or down? Smash them REALLY hard! It helps!

Add oil, eggs, & sugar to smashed up strawberries. Mix well.

Add flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon (sieve it in) – mix until combined.

Line a muffin tray with cases, I slightly sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in my paper cases as it seems to help stop sticking.

Spoon in the mixture approx 3/4 full. Should make around 10/12 muffins this way. Bake for around 20 minutes until risen & golden brown.

I don’t know what they’d be like with fresh strawberries but the frozen worked a treat! They turned out much better than I expected! Really pleased! Let me know if you try them!

Edited 3/5/13 – we made some Smashing Strawberry & Blackberry muffins today! We added a handful of fresh blackberries and smashed these up too along with the strawberries. These were delicious too!

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Raspberry & Blueberry muffins

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Got a poorly household today, and cake baking urge was strong! Needed berry muffins after seeing a link here yesterday.

I am never very sure of cup measurements so I just kind of winged it! These had a lovely sharp tang from the raspberries. Even my blueberry hating eldest enjoyed them! I loved that they weren’t too sweet…

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… and they were perfect with a cup of tea!

Picnic & friendships

1)Picnic with friends
My friend Mia came today with her three children for a walk and picnic! It was lovely even though it didn’t quite go as expected! Came home & had a nice cuppa & chat too.

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2) Sleepy girls

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Our two little ones sparked out after the picnic! Sylvie complete with grassy knees! Was lovely to see! I really am looking forward to watching them develop a friendship as they grow!

3) Muffins

Made some Italian courgette muffins for our picnic with a little help from the children. Recipe was from Abel & Cole They were yummy!

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4) Warm weather Was lovely & sunny, and we managed to eat a lovely mackerel pasta outside this evening.

5) New phone Changed from an iPhone to Sony XperiaZ yesterday with a free upgrade. Phone is huge & it’s taking some getting used to but I like it. It’s positives outweigh the negatives so far. Exercising my thumb too! 😉

Rustic chunky chicken, chickpea & vegetable soup

20130417-132252.jpgWoke up this morning craving a bowl of vegetable soup, so whilst the baby slept after the school run I made one! Remembered I had roast chicken so added that too! Although without the chicken it was very yummy too.

I don’t tend to follow recipes when making a quick soup, just chuck in what I have to hand.

Today’s soup ingredients:
1 large brown onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
Couple of organic carrots unpeeled & chopped
Courgette – chopped
Tin chopped tomatoes
Handful of dried small pasta – I used organic tricolour Simpsons shapes!!
Handful of fresh baby spinach
Tin of chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
Squeeze of Tomato purée
Veg/chicken stock or bouillon
Seasoning
Dried chilli flakes
Lemon
Olive oil
Parsley
Oregano
Roast chicken leftovers (pref. free range)

Heat oil in large pan, add onion, & celery, gently soften for a few minutes, add garlic, chilli flakes, tomato purée.

Add tinned chopped tomatoes, stock (I added water & organic bouillon and mixed mine in), carrot, courgette, chickpeas, pasta. Black pepper & herbs.

Gently simmer until veg is tender & pasta/chickpeas cooked. Add roast chicken & simmer until heated through. I added my baby spinach at the end, stirring it through & putting lid on pan as it wilted, and I also tested it, adding a touch of sea salt & a squeeze of fresh lemon.

You can of course, add any variety of veg, I think I’d like to make a tomato-free one next time!

My fussy four year old wont eat soup like this often but he would eat it blitzed up and served in his favourite mug! Youngest son liked dunking bread in his! This reminded me it might also be good blitzed up and served with little rice cakes for babies from six months. I used to do this for my younger boys who I did baby-led weaning with. Just omit the salt or look for reduced salt stock or bouillon if not making your own.

I had my soup for a late breakfast! This was quite a big pan and would easily feed my large family with a little leftover, or feed at least a couple of us for a 2/3 days if stored in the refrigerator.