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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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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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.

Nutella & Peanut Butter cookies

Needed a pick-me-up sweet treat today & so did the children, so I found this recipe over on Simply Gourmet & thought as I had the ingredients these would be quick! These are also gluten free.

You will need:

260g peanut butter – I use smooth
55g white sugar
55g light brown muscovado sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutella
20g oatmeal

Preheat oven to 180°c
Line a baking sheet with grease proof baking parchment.

Blend peanut butter and sugars.
Add egg and vanilla. Blend until thoroughly mixed.

Stir in oatmeal.

With clean hands, I rolled the mixture into golf ball sized rounds, and placed on sheet. Pressing very slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. While still hot, make an indentation in the cookie with your thumb or the back of teaspoon to make a well/dip.

I then used teaspoon to dollop a blob of Nutella in the well/dip, or you could pipe it as the recipe in the link suggests. I am hopeless at this and my Nutella was too hard, so I spooned it in.

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As you can see my youngest son enjoyed them! A real hit with the children!

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Yummy & Quick Fish Pie

Been wanting to make a fish pie for ages & having never actually made my own, I decided today was the day. Craving proper comfort food!

I am a member of a lovely cookery group on Facebook & got some tips on there, whilst loosely following a Jamie Oliver recipe.

Ingredients
Approx. 700g of cod & haddock (I used unsmoked as my eldest doesn’t like it)
1kg potatoes -peeled chopped
1 carrot
2 celery
2 medium onions
Red chilli (I used a frozen chopped cube equivalent to 1tsp)
200g (ish!) Good mature cheddar
Butter
Salt
White & black pepper
Knorr fish stock cube
Grated nutmeg
Fresh parsley
Lemon
Small tub 250ml half-fat creme fraiche
Frozen peas
Fresh or frozen spinach – I defrosted two lumps!
4 free range eggs

Method

Preheat oven 200°c

Peel & cut potatoes, put in pan salted water to boil for mashing. In separate pan, start boiling eggs.

Put butter in saucepan, put in onions & celery, gently softening for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, butter dish & grate in carrot & cheddar, add chopped fish chunks, drizzle with a squeeze of fresh lemon, add tub creme fraiche, pinch of salt, white pepper, chilli, chopped parsley, grated nutmeg, crumble stock cube, mix all together gently. Add frozen peas & dot with spinach. When eggs boiled, cool them in cold water, peel & quarter eggs & place over top.

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When potatoes are done, drain & mash using drizzle of olive oil/butter & season.

Cover pie & sprinkle with additional grated cheddar.

Cook in oven for around 45 minutes or until golden & bubbling.

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We chose to serve ours with extra peas. It was a big hit with our family – it should serve 6. We had two very hungry adults, two hungry older children & two little ones & polished off the whole lot!

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Enjoy! Let me know if you give it a try 🙂