Halloween ghost pops

Ghost cake pops

I don’t usually do much for halloween but this year the wee one has a party at nursery. So with her excited to dress up as a bumblebee for the occasion I took the chance to make an appropriate bake. I think my ghost cake pops turned out quite well. Boo!


Rice pudding muffin

If you don’t like rice pudding, then don’t make this muffin!

Rice Pudding Muffin

Curry night has become a thing in our household. It’s a night off for me (well sort of, it gives me a chance to play with different flatbreads) as my other half is very keen to experiment with unusual meats and sauces.  All round it’s a great family night (once we realised that our 2 year old can’t handle really spicy!) as well as perfect for entertaining.

Then I discovered you can use up cooked rice in a muffin. I am a big fan of rice pudding, that simple bubbling buttery yet spicy dessert which reminds me so much of growing up. And this muffin is all that. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.


One thing, though do be sure to make them the next day. Circumstance meant that my first opportunity was a couple of days later and that was definitely to the detriment of the muffin. The age of the rice is probably what caused the chewy texture but with so many flavour options out there I’d give them another go.

Rice pudding muffin

Dry ingredients

  • 330g plain white flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • grated nutmeg to taste

Wet ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 375ml milk (I used almond)
  • 30g butter, melted and cooled


  • 175g cooked rice

Mix the wet ingredients together then add the cooked rice. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry. Pour the mixture into muffin tins lined with paper cases (don’t worry that the batter is quite wet). Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until golden and risen. For an extra kick of nutmeg grate a little on top of the muffins after baking.

Apple and date cake

Apple & date cake slices

I’m continuing to deal with the supply of apples from the tree in our communal garden/ drying green. So far we’ve had butternut squash & apple soup, apple sauce with pork and of course, apple crumble. Not to mention the ones we’ve crunched through without cooking. I was really surprised by how tasty the sweet potato brownies were when I made them sweetened with just agave nectar. For an extra sweet kick as well as some moisture I also added dates to this apple cake and the result was delicious.

Slice of Apple & date cake

Apple & date cake


  • 2 apples, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 220g dates, chopped
  • 250ml boiling water

Dry ingredients

  • 220g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 220g plain white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder

Wet ingredients

  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 180ml agave nectar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Set oven to 180C. Start by putting the apples and dates into a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and pour over the boiling water. Leave to one side to cool. Mix together the wet ingredients. Mix together the dry ingredients. Combine the two and then add the apples and dates including all the liquid. Transfer the mixture into a brownie pan. Sprinkle with a little demerara sugar and some cinnamon if you fancy. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool before cutting into squares.

Banana loaf muffin

Banana loaf muffin

Do you remember the ultimate question? If not, here’s a quick reminder, should I bake banana loaf or banana muffins? Is it possible to switch the recipes around? Let’s try! The first mash up (sorry!), banana muffins disguised as loaf worked really well so next up I attempted banana loaf as muffins.

I’m sure you’re familiar with lemon curd (a lemony spread or dessert made with lemon juice and eggs) but have any of you heard of banana curd? Curiosity got the better of me when I saw a jar in my local farm shop. I just had to buy it and as it turns out the smooth banana paste is certainly a nice alternative to the usual curds spread on toast or I’m sure however you choose to eat it.

In this case it is the perfect addition to these spicy gingerbread-esque muffins from one of my favourite recipe books, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Banana curd in banana loaf muffin

Have you tried an unusual curd? Did you incorporate it into your baking?

Banana muffin loaf

Mini banana loaf with knife

It’s a nice dilemma to have, banana loaf or banana muffins? Sometimes you just don’t have the time to makes individual muffins so a loaf has a convenience factor. Just mix up the batter and pop in a loaf tin before baking in the oven. Done! Well, done after an hour or so. It doesn’t exactly cook very quickly.

Sliced banana loaf

Muffins on the other hand take a bit longer to prepare but then cook in as little as 25 minutes (even less if you use mini tins). Perfect if you need a snack in a hurry i.e. if a friend is dropping by for coffee.

While pondering this, the ultimate question, it struck me that it might be possible to switch up the recipes. Banana muffin loaf? Banana loaf muffins? I just had to try!

First up, I made my basic no-frills banana muffin recipe but instead of putting the mixture into my muffin tin I popped the whole lot in a loaf tin. The result is a tasty and convenient sweet snack.

Mini banana loaves

Have you tried this with any other muffin recipe?


perfect peeled banana

We are a family of banana lovers. Every day since starting solids my daughter has eaten one for breakfast. Always the same. Cereal of some sort followed by a banana. Like me she enjoys them most when they are perfectly ripe. Not under ripe and not over ripe, just perfect.

Any black or soft bits will be handed back to me. Yuck!

Now though, at 2 1/2 years old, the monotony is setting in. Her choice varies between all the fruits. Apple was favoured today but tomorrow perhaps it will be the turn of the grapes. It’s all good and I’m really pleased that she likes her fruit so much.

However, my stock take has not yet been updated so I continue to buy the same number of bananas as before. But it could…maybe…perhaps…be a deliberate failing because there is nothing better than sad looking overripe bananas. When bananas look like this in the fruit bowl it means there’s baking to be done :

Overripe bananas

Banana loaf? Banana muffins? We’ll see but which would you choose?

Apple and cheddar muffin

It’s been a bumper year for apples. The trees are drooping with rosy red apples ripe for the picking. We have two different places from which to gather them. When we visit the grandparents, my wee one loves going out into the garden with her Opa to check on the apple tree. When the time is right she’ll help him to pick them and (hopefully) bring some of the bounty home with her.

red appleOn our last visit they were almost but not quite ripe yet. This did not stop her from wanting some (have you tried arguing with a 2 year old?!) one for her, one for mummy and one for daddy…

red applesI didn’t need to be told twice that perhaps they would be better cooked. Hhhmm now what should I bake? Since they were given to me by the littlest member of the family they had to be child friendly. One of her favourite foods is cheese and I know it’s popular to add a slice of cheddar cheese to apple pie so why not an apple and cheddar cheese muffin?

apple cheddar muffinThe sweet apple contrasts beautifully with the savoury salty cheese to make a sweet and savoury muffin. If I made them again I’d take out some of the sugar just to bring out the flavour of the cheese.

The little ones comment “it’s not bad”. My harshest critic indeed!

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Courgettes and marrows

This beautiful marrow was one of a trio given to me from a friend’s garden. Like many who grow their own vegetables either in a garden or allotment they were experiencing a glut. With so many of this delicious vegetable ripe all at the same time they were struggling to find different things to do with them.

yellow marrow

Marrows belong to the squash family along with courgette/zucchini and pumpkins. While they are delicious in most savoury dishes; bolognaise, soup or simply stuffed they can also be used in sweet recipes. Like courgette I see no reason why you couldn’t enjoy a chocolate and marrow cake. The marrow provides lots of moisture without any of the distinctive vegetable flavour. But even so there’s only so much marrow one can stomach in one go.

Many resort to preserving their goodness for winter in jars of chutney or gift bagfuls to friends. Thank you  very much! I’ve mentioned my struggles to perfect the courgette muffin before and I am still keen to conquer but after a couple of recent attempts I decided to try something a little different. When I found this recipe for sweet zucchini crumble I was, of course, intrigued. A different recipe to add to the repertoire to deal with a glut of marrows.

Marrow crumble

The sweetened marrows were delicious and not unlike apples. Perhaps just a little less sweet and I would guess a little healthier. My one comment about this recipe was that there was rather too much crumble (I never thought I would say that) for the amount of filling. It was nice having a layer of crumble underneath but next time I’d use a thicker layer of veg.

Bowl of marrow crumble

What’s your favourite recipe for courgette or marrow?