Autumnal Apple & Sultana Muffins

Every Autumn, one of the houses on our block walk with Coco puts a bucket outside of their front drive with an invitation to help oneself to bags of their windfall Bramley Apples – what a lovely way to share with neighbours. And by lovely I mean lovely for my family, courtesy of the kindness of these neighbours because we get crumbles and baked goods out of their apples for free ^.^

Even after I made an 8 portions Apple Crumble (!!) I still had 3 apples leftover, and since Adelyn keeps very seriously saying “MUFFIN” at me, I figured I’d whip together some Apple & Sultana muffins (inspired by the BBC’s) as an Autumnal variation on our usual Banana muffins!

Enjoy the warm, homey smells of freshly baked cinnamon, appley goodness.

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml milk
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 apples, peeled and grated (I used Bramley). Give a little squeeze so it’s not TOO juicy
  • 100g sultanas

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C Fan) and line a 12-muffin tin with muffin cases.

In a big bowl, combine the dry ingredients; the self-raising flour, baking powder, cinnamon, wholemeal flour and sugar – give it a good mix together.

In a jug (or another bowl), beat the milk, eggs and oil together. Add this to the dry ingredients bowl and mix well.

Stir in the grated apple and sultanas and give it one last good stir.

Carefully spoon the mix into your prepared muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes until golden on top.

Christmas Rocky Road

Cote 100%

An early Christmas present for you, my dear friends and readers 🙂

Fancy a treat that looks and tastes wonderfully Christmassy – WITHOUT resorting to OD-ing on weird Christmas spices (cinnamon and cloves, I’m glaring at you)? AND literally just involves stirring and leaving?

I’d seen this in Nigella Lawson’s Christmas book (and show) ages ago and pooh-poohed the very idea as overly sweet and sickly.

I guess something about being a mum now, and one who can be relied on to turn to sweet things to prop me up on those days, that I finally thought that it was time to try the recipe for a recent family gathering we had at home. Ooh they went down a treat and turned out to be rather moreish.

The Amaretti adds a nutty lightness, which when combined with the Brazil nuts gives a lovely crunch that contrasts the sumptuous softness of the marshmallows – and a little cheeky zing of a glacĂ© cherry to perk it all up a bit. Oh – AND IT’S SURROUNDED BY CHOCOLATE.

I took the liberty of modifying the recipe slightly to conform with the weight of the packets to be found in the shops.

Go nuts with your display as your decorate the finished piece, it’s a lot of fun and I look forward to making this with Adelyn next year!

EQUIPMENT:

A foil tray (Nigella suggests a 236mm x 296mm / 9¼ x 12 inches disposable type)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 150g butter
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g amaretti biscuits
  • 150g brazil nuts (shelled)
  • 150g red glacĂ© cherries, halved
  • 125g mini marshmallows
  • 1tbsp icing sugar, to dust
  1. Fit a bowl over a saucepan of water, bring water to the boil and then allow to simmer as you break up the chocolate into the bowl. Pop the butter and golden syrup into the chocolate and allow it to melt together gently, stirring every so often to help it along.
  2. Use a rolling pin and give the Amaretti biscuits a good bashing to break them up into bite sized pieces. Repeat with the Brazil Nuts. Try not to whack it too hard as you’ll probably break the bag and then have a mess…if you’re worried, put them into a bigger ziplock type bag and have at them. A good mix of chunks and rubble will do very nicely.
  3. In a nice big bowl, empty out the nuts and Amaretti, the glacé cherries and the mini-marshmallows, then lovingly coat it all in the melty chocolate.
  4. Tip it all into the foil tray, pushing into the edges and flatten it out as best as you can. It’ll look unsurprisingly “rocky”.
  5. Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours, until firm enough to cut into chunks.
  6. Tip it out and then cut into however many blocks as you like. I managed about 25 pieces.
  7. Display as you wish, might I suggested stacked on a cake stand, and dust the icing sugar through a sieve to give your Rocky Road an instantly White Christmas.

If you have any leftovers (or are needing to hide some away), they’ll keep nicely in the fridge for a week. You can also freeze them, just defrost them in the fridge overnight to eat them again.

 

Courgette, Spinach & Cheese Muffins

img_2943

I’m a big fan of finger foods, especially ones that are quick to make and packed full of nutrition – courgette, carrots and spinach with the added hit of cheese for that moreishness…oooh these’ll be a hit in your household too if my family are anything to go by!

Adelyn literally bounces and makes strained squealing sounds when she sees me coming with these. Just like her Papa.

Remember – babies under 1 years old shouldn’t have salt added to their food as their kidneys aren’t mature enough to process it efficiently so there’s no need to season this. The cheese contains enough savoury flavour to satisfy even an adult’s palate.

INGREDIENTS

225g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1 carrot – peeled and grated

1 small courgette – washed and grated

80g mature cheddar, grated

2 handfuls of spinach, chopped

1 egg, beaten

45g unsalted butter, melted

120ml milk

  • Preheat your oven to 180C (fan) and lightly grease a muffin tray with butter or oil. You can use muffin cases if you like.
  • Pop your dry ingredients into a big bowl – so your flour, baking powder, cheese, carrot, courgette and spinach – and mix together.
  • Then add your wet ingredients one at a time, mixing after each addition – so the egg, butter and then the milk. You should have a thick and pleasingly colourful batter.
  • Pop a generous tablespoon of the mixture into your prepared muffin tray – you should have enough for 12.
  • Bake for 20-25mins, until golden brown on top and your chosen poking testing implement comes out clean (toothpick, uncooked spaghetti, actual poker tester thing etc.)
  • Leave them to cool slightly, if you can bear the wait.

FREEZING TIP: These freeze well in an airtight container or baggy. You can warm them up in the oven from frozen for 15mins (or leave to defrost) to enjoy all over again.

img_2942

Adelyn using two hands to devour hers – a sign of enjoyment!