Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Cranberry and Apple Crumble Muffins

It's time to make a confession. I have been spending more time in my garden than I have in the kitchen. 

Most evenings its been a rush to get any food on the table and I certainly haven't been playing around with ingredients for a few weeks.

My biggest problem is the weather. At this time of year when temperatures can be up into the 40º c, there's not a whole heap of time to be out in the garden because its too damn hot after 9.00am.

Over the last week or so the temperatures have been in the 20's, reasonably warm still but it gave me the opportunity to get out, weed, replenish the vegetable garden and start pruning back a few shrubs.

But now we are expecting a week of high 30's and I'm back inside thinking about food.

I had a real yearning for some muffins and I picked up my weekly supply of Granny Smith apples from the orchard and just needed to put aside a little time to make them.

The muffins are nice and fruity, with a crumbly, crunchy topping and make a nice snack for morning or afternoon tea. Here is the recipe. 


Crumble Topping

½ cup plain flour
60g butter
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons flaked almonds, chopped

Muffin Mixture

½ cup cranberries, chopped - fresh or frozen
1¾ cups SR flour
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
125g butter melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or ground cinnamon
½  cup almond meal
⅓ cup milk
¾ cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 200º or 180º fan forced. Place paper cases into a 12 point muffin pan.

To make the topping - In a small bowl add flour and butter and mix with fingertips to resemble breadcrumbs. Add sugar and flaked almonds. Set aside in the fridge.

In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, almond meal and caster sugar. Mix in the cranberries and apple.

In a small bowl add vanilla or cinnamon, melted butter, eggs and milk and mix until combined.

Now add the wet mix to the flour bowl, mixing until just combined.

Fill the paper cases with mixture, piling it up. Then sprinkle some of the topping on the top. Be generous. Now place in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These are suitable to freeze or keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Rhubarb Cake with Almonds

Let me preface this recipe with a word of warning! 
This will be my last cake recipe (for a while) because once I make cake,I eat cake and eating cake is not a good idea when you are trying to control your waistline. There I have said it!

Commitment folks! That is what it is! A New Years resolution I am trying to stick to. 

This was brought home to me again after watching another of Dr Michael Moseley's "Trust Me I am a Doctor" series on TV. (Michael is the guy that brought us the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Plan). The program looked at the best way of losing belly fat. Reduction in the amount of food eaten versus exercise. While the exercised toned - reducing overall portion sizes had the greatest effect. Check out the above link for more information.

With that in mind, my portion sizes are now getting smaller! But with cake, it's impossible to eat it alone so you add cream, ice cream or sour cream. Point taken! No more cake, enjoy this last recipe for a few months until I can report on a reduction of my waist line - way before winter arrives and I start to crave comfort food.

So lets concentrate on this last rhubarb cake recipe, enjoy it, tuck it away and don't look at it any longer than you have to. 

I have a lot of rhubarb in my garden and I tend to use it for desserts only, but I have recently
read about how rhubarb makes a great pickle. Now I have made rhubarb chutney, but rhubarb pickled by itself is a whole other story. Keep watching, I may get time to try some soon.



     1 1/2 cups of plain flour
     1 1/4 cup caster sugar
     1 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp ground cardamom
     1/4 tsp almond extract
     1/2 cup almond meal
     1 tsp vanilla extract
     1 tbl icing sugar
     zest of an orange
     1/3 cup flaked almonds
     1/2 cup unsalted butter
     1 cup Greek yoghurt
     1 extra tbs caster sugar
     pinch of salt
  • Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees fan forced.  Line the bottom of a 23 cm springform pan with a round of baking paper. Then generously coat the paper and the sides of the springform pan with butter.  Set aside.

  • In a bowl beat 1 cup of the sugar and the butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then beat in the yogurt, orange zest and the extracts.

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt in a small bowl. Add these dry ingredients to the cake batter, adding in about one-third at a time, mixing on low speed until all is mixed in thoroughly. You can do this by hand if you don't have a mixer.

  • Trim the ends from the rhubarb - discarding the leaves. If the rhubarb stalks are thick, slice them in half lengthwise. Then cut the rhubarb stalks into pieces about 3 - 4 cms in length.
  • Spread about half of the thick cake batter into an even layer on the bottom of your prepared springform pan. Place about half of the rhubarb on top in an even layer. Then spread the remaining cake batter over the rhubarb. Arrange the remaining rhubarb pieces on top and sprinkle the flaked almonds and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top of the cake. This will give a nice caramel crunch to the cake.
  • Transfer the cake to your pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 
  • Remove the cake form the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled remove cake from the tin, dust with icing sugar and cut into slices. 
Serves 8