Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nigella's perfect muffin!

How hard can it be? How hard can it be to bake a muffin? As I'm sure you know, it isn't difficult. Wet into dry, add flavour and boom! Breakfast-y, morning-tea-y, afternoon-tea-y, after dinner with a cuppa-y, old-fashioned indulgence. Easy. BUT, the perfect recipe for the perfect easy-peasy muffin, now THAT can be a little harder to find.

In my years in cafe-land, many a co-worker has lamented the little lost scrap of paper with the perfect muffin recipe. And at least one occasion I can recall a sneaky whisper of 'do you have a copy of *cafe down the road's recipe*?

So here it is. It isn't my recipe, and it isn't the *cafe down the road's* recipe either. Straight from the kitchen goddess herself. The gorgeous Nigella Lawson. I'm sure she won't mind if I share it with you.

Not too oily, not too massive, a lovely crumb, and sweet enough - but not like eating cake for breakfast.

Nigella's perfect muffin!
Preheat oven to 200°C (these are quick to make so you want the oven good and ready). 12 x 1 cup muffin tin lined with baking paper or paper cases.

Dry mix
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
75g (plus a little extra for sprinkling) brown sugar
1 tsp ginger (or cinnamon, nutmeg etc. whatever takes your fancy)
Wet mix
3 tbsp sourcream (I have also used yoghurt without dire effect)
125ml vegetable oil (olive oil if you want a denser fruitier flavour)
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
300g of fruit sliced/diced (use your imagination or whatever is languishing in the fruit bowl).

Measure and mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix wet ingredients in separate large jug or the like.
Add the wet to the dry mix. Quickly and gently combine, do not overwork at this point or you'll have little rocks on your hands. I like to employ the 3 year old's labour at this stage - he is deft and light of hand, plus can't be bothered mixing for too long. 
Add in your fruit of choice. Sometimes I chuck in some fresh ricotta too, but it is just a muffin. It is meant to be simple.
Fill the tins and add a sprinkle of brown sugar to each.
Into the oven for around 20 min. Cool on a wire rack.

Lovely. Feel free to write this down on a scrap of paper and lose in the bottom drawer. ♥

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I had a MASSIVE day at The Market today. MASSIVE. All went well, there was a LITTLE bit of weary leaning towards the 3pm mark but all in all a good day for everyone.

I sold nearly all my wares & walked away with some orders for Christmas treats & a Holiday catering job. Wonderful.

It seems that there is always at least one thing forgotten, (by me), on market day. Today - the camera. So, sorry no pics to show. Instead here are some links to a few of my favourite stall holders of the day, (there were many).

In no particular order we have . . .

Flatpack Bakers with their gorgeous presentation & top quality ingredients.

The vivacious duo from Who Did That. Just gorgeous I tell you.

And, super talented Captain Blueberry who I am lucky enough to have working on a graphic job for mondo mama's kitchen.


Monday, November 15, 2010

the show goes on

I may well be so tired that yesterday I used nail polish remover instead of make-up remover; and today I thought it was Tuesday, (I'm so glad it's not).  Rest assured good readers that all kitchen activity is up to par.

So this is what I do whilst the littlest small sleeps. I make PAN DE HIGOS, chockers full of dried figs, whole blanched almonds, French cocoa, dark chocolate & cinnamon.

 And dainty little Christmas cakes, (yet to be done up with all the trimmings). A beautiful recipe adapted from my Nan's recipe with lots of soaked dried fruit & spiked with rum!

And the reason I do this whilst the small sleeps? Because this is what happens if I don't!

These Christmassy treats are good, sooo good. Especially with coffee. Speaking of which, it's time I had one!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

bits & bobs

It has been a bit of this and a bit of that kind of day. A bit of early morning puy lentil cooking to stash in the fridge for one of the small's lunch; bit of out & about at the world's possibly best playgroup (they have REAL coffee people); a bit of gardening; a bit of cute niece coming over to, ahem, assist in rearranging the house; a bit of easy baked fish & steamed pink eye potatoes & cucumber salad for the smalls' dinner. It has been a busy day. 

The house looks like a bomb has hit it. I'm a bit knackered to clean up, but we did have a yummy dinner, put together with the aforementioned 'prep' that somehow occurred in the day. I love it when a plan comes together (ha ha).

So, a Spring salad. Puy lentils, fresh tomato, left over baked fish & all it's juices (plus any bits that were chucked in the pot for flavour), a handful of chopped herbs, left over steamed pinkeyes, PLUS, a small handful of buttery plump scallops I picked up as a treat, oh and a big squeeze of lemon.

DELICIOUS! and easy and there is hardly any washing up!


Monday, November 8, 2010

the market

The gorgeous women from the Hobart independent design market have set about updating the blog each day in the 12 days leading up to the Christmas market. Such a cute idea & a very tempting snap shot of what's instore! I know where I'll be doing my Christmas shopping.

Go on, have a click here www.themarkethobart.com.au

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Couldn't help but share - the kitchen is super boozy with a mega amount of fruit soaking for mini Christmas cakes.

Plus, I break all the rules & use RUM in my cake, so there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not sourdough (gasp)

As a result of the busyness of late, my poor sourdough starter languishes on the bench. An upside of this is that it encourages me to seek out alternate bready things to bake that require other leavening agents.

Yesterday I got friendly with a new cookbook addition, Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Bread Bible'. Absolutely jam packed with recipes, techniques & tips; this is a book for the baker & not so much of a 'picture book' - I'm happy with that. I think I could happily work my way through this book & without a doubt come away with a better understanding of what it is to bake.

First up I got started on a hearth bread that promised a crunchy crust, chewy crumb & rustic appearance. Although a yeasted bread, the 'heart of wheat' wheatgerm bread utilises a 'sponge' pre-ferment & long proofing - like a good sourdough this sounds promising for improved flavour & texture. With two 'smalls' running about the 'leave & check' method of bread baking suits me well also!

So, the result? Lovely simple bread, with an as promised crunchy crust; a not so chewy crumb that is nevertheless delightful for a simple sandwich, with a slathering of butter & spoonful of 'Yay I found plum jam at the back of the cupboard' jam. Or as small number 2 decided, just fine straight from the toaster sans topping.