Blueberry cheesecake muffin

Apologies for the silence and lack of muffin last Monday. My excuse is that I was on holiday. That’s right I actually had some proper time out and a complete rest and I’m feeling a whole lot better for it. The holiday was partly to celebrate a birthday so I will have a birthday cake to share with you soon but my week has been muffin free…well almost…

cheesecake muffinEven although our holiday destination was only a 30 minute drive from home we still had a stop off on the way. We managed a little bit of creativity and a bite to eat including this blueberry cheesecake muffin. It had been heated in the microwave for just a few seconds which left the centre deliciously gooey. I may just have to recreate this effect in a muffin at some point soon.

Cheesecake

 

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Beetroot & Cardamom muffin

 beetroot and cardamom muffin

Cardamom is an underused spice in my repertoire. Since I discovered it as a flavour I’ve been incorporating it into many recipes in ground form. But that can be fiddly so when I spotted cardamom essence in my local deli I knew I’d found an easier way to explore. When asked about my plan  for it I couldn’t give a definitive answer because of the many ideas running through my head. So be warned it’s bound to appear again and then who knows which flavour essence will be next.

Beetroot is considered a safe food when eating the eczema diet. Although my initial enthusiasm for the diet has worn off as being too immediately restrictive to my circumstances, I am attempting to eat and learn more about the safe ingredients. I’m thinking baby steps.

Personally I really enjoyed the great big chunks of beetroot in these muffins but I think I was alone. Grating would perhaps hide the vegetable better for its lesser fans. The red contrasts beautifully against the stark white of the cardamom flavoured icing which gives an extra warmth to the already earthy beetroot.

beetroot chunk

Beetroot muffins with cardamom drizzle

  • 3 beetroot bulbs, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 60ml hot water
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml rice milk
  • 60ml rice bran oil
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) spelt flour, sifted
  • Icing sugar
  • cardamom essence

Chop the beetroot into chunks (or grate). Add the hot water to the cocoa powder to make a smooth paste. Beat in the sugar and eggs. Then add in the beetroot.

Mix together the milk and oil in a jug and then alternate adding half the flour and then half the oil/milk to the beetroot mixture.

Divide into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25 mins at 200C. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.

Prepare the icing by mixing together a little icing sugar with a drop of essence and making up to quite a runny paste with water. Drizzle the icing on however you like.

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.

Nutmeg

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

Flavour

  • 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.

Courgette and bacon muffin

Autumn is clearly on it’s way. There may be some days when the sun still shines and it’s warm but the air is definitely cooler and the leaves are changing. I am a big fan of the colder seasons. I much prefer being bundled up in a big cosy jumper than wafting around in a floaty summer dress.

Courgette and bacon muffin with soupThe colder weather also lets me indulge in one of my most favourite meals. There’s nothing else quite like a big bowl of homemade vegetable soup served with a warm-from-the-oven savoury muffin when it’s cold and rainy outside. A friend gave me a big filled with marrows to use which was the starting point for these muffins. I was inspired by one of the soups I make regularly, courgette and cumin. For an added extra crunch and a little bit of extra protein for lunch I topped them with crispy grilled bacon bits but these could easily be left off for a vegetarian friendly version.

Bacon topped muffins

The cumin added some much needed flavour to the marrow but my decision to make these with only wholemeal flour was the downfall of these uber-filling muffins. My two-year old favoured the bacon bits and indeed refused to eat anything other than the bacon (she is definitely my harshest critic!)

With a second not so great attempt at courgette muffins under my belt can anyone suggest a really great recipe for me to try?

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Chocolate Muffin

Chocolate Muffin Stack

I love a challenge and when one of my readers suggested creating muffins for special diets I happily accepted. These chocolate muffins are egg free. This one is close to my heart as from a really early age my niece was diagnosed with a severe egg allergy. Over time she has got slightly better and is now able to eat cooked egg.  With age she has also got fussier to the point where she has decided she no longer likes cake. Chocolate is her thing so these muffins are for her (even although she’ll not be partaking).

Half eaten chocolate muffinIt looks and feels like a muffin but the taste and texture in your mouth is more like a brownie. All I can say is yum! I will definitely be making more of these.

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Mango Muffins

Mango muffinIt’s been a while! Not only since I posted last but since I last baked a muffin. My interest has been reignited by a recent trip to Canada. The muffins there are fabulous and not anything like the “cake” versions I’ve found in the UK. Canadian muffins were huge. Often they were a meal in themselves with delicious fruit and vegetable ingredients. So after more research than was perhaps necessary on  holiday I’m now back home ready to bring you more muffin experiments.

The post holiday resolutions are now slowly slipping to the wayside. The mango I bought at the height has slowly over-ripened to the point that I don’t really fancy eating it after all. To ease myself back in gently I used the book Scrumptious Muffins by Marc Grossman to make these mango muffins. I love that they use fresh mango and mango chutney. They are delicious, light and not too sweet.

Mango in a mango muffin

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12 Sunflower Seed

Having been quite pleased with the results from the book 1001 cupcakes, cookies and other tempting treats I decided to try yet another. The occasion is breakfast for friends. They had to be pleasing for small children yet interesting for the adults and just a little bit healthy. I went for the sunflower seed muffin with oats and raisins number 105.

Sunflower Seed Muffin

Sunflower Seed Muffin

The results were a little bit stodgy. Perhaps a few too many sunflower seeds. If I did them again (and I’m not sure I would) I’d leave out the sunflower seeds in the mixture and add a little spice for flavour.

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5 : Blue cheese, pear and walnut

Although I’m not a fan of blue cheese this seems like a good flavour combination and there is one fan in this household. The pear was a bit over ripe which resulted in the muffin being a little soggy and there were a few too many walnuts on the top.

Blue cheese, pear and walnut muffin

Ingredients

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g blue cheese
  • 1 pear, cored and chopped
  • 50g walnuts

Heat the oven to 200C. Chop the cheese, pear and walnuts into small pieces.  Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry then fold in the cheese and pears. Spoon the mixture into cases, top with chopped walnuts and bake for 16 minutes until golden and firm.

Calories per muffin: 277

4: Goat’s cheese and onion

After having the most amazing goats cheese and caramelised onion pizza this week I knew that this would be a great flavour combination in a muffin. My first attempt was good although perhaps a little dry. They could benefit from more and stickier caramelised onions as well as a touch more goats cheese.

Goat's Cheese and Onion muffin

 Ingredients

  • 100g goat’s cheese
  • 1 onion, cooked with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk

Heat the oven to 200C. Chop the onion and place in pan with the oil and sugar. Cook until caramelised. Chop the goat’s cheese into small chunks. Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry then fold in the onion and cheese. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake for 16 minutes until golden and firm.

Calories per muffin: 225

3: Strawberry and almond

A couple of times recently I’ve made the most amazing strawberry crumble dessert with pistachios in the topping. I really wanted to make this into a muffin but unfortunately I used up all the pistachios when I had some strawberries needing used up. Instead I found some flaked almonds in cupboard and used these as a substitute.Strawberry and almond muffin

Ingredients

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 270g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g trex, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 200g strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 100g flaked almonds

Heat the oven to 200C. Roast the strawberries for approximately 20 mins. Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry then fold in the strawberries and almonds. Spoon the mixture into cases and bake for 16 minutes until golden and firm.

Calories per muffin: 238

Note: I used trex instead of my usual stork which meant the muffin was a bit paler and not the usual golden colour. I probably wouldn’t use it again. I also added the strawberry juice which I probably wouldn’t do again as the mixture was a bit too moist. It might be nice as a syrup poured over the baked muffin.The almond flavour might be brought out a bit more if they were roasted first.