Monthly Archives: March 2012

Blueberry and Almond Muffins that made me smile! :)

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I have been feeling a bit under the weather and have been missing my hometown the last few days so needed a bit off a “pick me up”… For me, baking is always soothing and tends to chill the stress levels. I had a little think about what to make and the first thing that made me smile was the thought of how excited me and my mama get about Vida e Cafe blueberry and white choc chip muffins… ok… the thought of these gives me a bigger than normal smile 🙂

The recipe below is a tweaked Hummingbird Bakery blueberry muffin recipe. I have made these with flaked almonds instead of choc chips for a healthier option..

Ingredients: 

300g Plain Flour
310g Caster Sugar
1t salt
1.5 t Baking Powder
0.5t Bicarbonate of Soda
375ml Buttermilk
1 Egg
0.5t Vanilla Extract
70g Unsalted Butter, Melted
250g Blueberries
1 Handful Flaked Almonds

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl/jug put the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to this and beat until all the ingredients are combined.
4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter has just incorporated, then turn to mixer up to medium speed and beat until the dough is even and smooth.

 5. Add the almonds and mix on a low speed for about 15 seconds.
6. Finally, add the blueberries and fold in gently until they are evenly spread.

7. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases until they are two thirds full.

8. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clear.

9. Leave the muffins to cool slightly and enjoy… they really are light and DeLish 🙂

Muriel’s Kitchen… Revisited..

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Towards the end of last year a new little gem was to open in South Ken. Every morning on my way to work I would watch in anticipation to see how far they had come with the transformation of what was to become Muriel’s Kitchen.

Based on the idea of endless days in the kitchen around her Grandmother’s cooking, Muriel’s grandaughter opened this little cafe.  As soon as it opened, I found the first free evening after work, rounded up some gal pals and went for dinner… I was so so disappointed and never wanted to return… How could such a gorgeous place get it so wrong.?!? Anyway, My housemate has tried to convince me on countless occasions to go back as she often has lunch there and swears by the food…

So… on Saturday, I decided to take a walk with a friend and give Muriel’s another go… My conclusion, I think the glorious little place got the shock of it’s life when it opened in such a busy area but just needed some time to find her feet and remember what it is all about… Cooking and eating Grandmother’s delish food in a relaxed environment.

I had the Salmon en croute for lunch which was good but not as amazing as the sides… we chose a selection of three; mixed mediterranean greens, mash potato which has some tongue tingling chives mixed in and a beetroot mash with goats cheese (incredible)!! I am DEFINITELY going to try this one at home! (The portions are pretty big so I would recommend two sides to share).

So, I am FINALLY smiling inside at Muriel’s turn around and I can’t wait to peek in the window and sneak in for some wholesome food and quite possibly a slice of cake.. 😉

P.S. I actually went back on Sunday for brunch… A definite must! hehe!

Macarons… Take 1!

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Ok… I want to start by saying that macarons are completely and utterly as difficult to make as everyone says they are…. Ok, to be fair, i was missing a few vital components e.g. proper piping… I made macarons with the most incredible lemon filing imaginable! However, the first person to see them told me that; “Those don’t look like macarons”… Typical me got a wee bit emotional about this comment especially because it had taken me the most part of my saturday to make them… Anyway, I was told they tasted delish and I without being bias… i can definitely vouch for that!

I have decided only to post pictures as I am not going to give up on these delicacies… Once I perfect them, I will post the full recipe…

F.Y.I. They cracked a bit on the tops but this is apparently “normal” when first making them as it could be a result of ingredients used or oven types…

I am looking forward to many more encounters with these little bursts of tastebud joy! 🙂

Positively Delish!

A special cake for a little friend..

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My housemate’s birthday was the other day and i wanted to surprise her with a cake that would make her smile… However, a few obstacles stood in my way as we live together and I wanted to keep this a secret from her. I had seen photo’s of “rainbow cakes” before and had always wanted to make one.. On friday night after work, when M was out I called in the troops (cheese and wine in tow) to help me bake the six brightly coloured layers of a cake that would be rather tall for a rather short girl 🙂 There was a little more thought that needed to go into this cake as M has given up chocolate for Lent and the usual thought for me would be to put delicious layers of chocolate filling between the sponges as she is a chocoholic… Anyway, I decided to use a praline spread from Le Pain Quotedien which she loves as well as the cake filling.

The Cake:

As there are six layers in this cake and time was limited, I ended up buying victoria sponge cake mixture (x3 packets). The sponges turned out lovely. Basically, I prepared them separately mixing up one packet then divided between two bowls equally and mixed in food colouring until i was happy with the colours. NOTE: the colours that the mixture is when you pour into your baking tins are the colours that the sponges will be. Repeat this three times with your various colours.

The Rose Water Butter Icing:

2 1/4 cup (250 g) icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 stick (8 tbsp) 4 oz (112 g) softened butter
2 Tablespoons Rose Water Essence
1 tbsp milk

Mix the milk and Rose Water essence together. Add the butter and beat in the icing sugar gradually. I used tripled this recipe and had only a little icing left over.

We all had a good laugh with this cake that turned out to be MUCH taller than expected and leant slightly to the left… My favourite part of the day was the look on M’s face when she started to cut the cake and as she lifted the first piece she asked, “is this a Red Velvet?” when she lifted the piece further and all the colours emerged, everyone’s faces lightened up… This cake is definitely a must!