Tag Archives: chocolate

Eat away your blues

26 Jan

by making some lovely little dark chocolate blueberry muffins! These buggers will give you a smile on the inside and the outside! Nothing blue about blueberries! You see them everywhere, you’re just invited to fill your kitchen with the scent of blueberry pie, cheesecake, muffins, whatever your craving desires! In London especially, they’re on for a very good price, so when I stroll in the grocery store and I see these, I have to think of imaginative ways to get my man to eat his five a day!

dark chocolate blueberry muffins

As you’ve probably realised already, he’s more of a primal eater.  To get this one to eat fruit takes some doing! Nothing better than blueberry muffins, full of antioxidants! I won’t mention that it has chocolate or sugar in though.. lets keep that on the down low!

flour

Dark Chocolate Blueberry muffins

Ingredients – make 9 – 12 muffins

2 x eggs

250 ml whole milk

85g melted butter

155g caster sugar

300g all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/4 teaspoon of salt

200g blueberries

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped/ dark chocolate chips

flour and egg

Preheat your oven to 190 degree Celsius. Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, 115g of the caster sugar and the salt together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.

baking

Take a measuring jug and add your milk and eggs to it. Beat together with a hand whisk.

Slowly add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture, while beating with an electric freestanding mixer on low speed. Increase the speed until smooth. Now add the melted butter and increase the speed again until all ingredients are combined. Do not overbeat, as this will cause your muffins to fall flat and not rise.

chopped chocolate

Add your blueberries to the batter and mix in by hand. Make sure it is mixed evenly.

chocolate and butter

Take your muffin pan/s and place muffin cases in each holder.

chocolate and butter

Scoop the batter mixture in so that it is half full.

blueberries

Now distribute the chocolate chips/chocolate pieces between the muffin cups.

blueberries and chocolate

Finish each one off with the remaining batter, allowing each holder to be 3/4 full.

muffin cups

Take the remaining sugar and sprinkle over each muffin holder.

muffin cups

Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and jump back to the touch.

raw muffin cups

Enjoy with a steaming cup of tea or coffee and your relaxation has started!

dark chocolate blueberry muffins

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Pantry pasta & kitchen madness

28 Aug

It really, truly is when I am in the kitchen. I might love cooking, but it’s as if there is a 3 year old child in the kitchen and it is even worse when baking. After my little knife in the arm incident, with my friend the dishwasher, the hubby behaves like a prowling, protective lion – he is too scared to leave me alone. Now, if he hears something falling, it takes him 2 seconds and he is in the kitchen! As I was baking yesterday to fill up my cookie jars, he must have been tired, as I kept on dropping tins and wooden spoons and basically everything a 3 year old drops, breaks and destroys when in a kitchen. So you can imagine how many times he ran up and down! What can I say, I am a VERY clumsy lady!

Also, a trait that I got from my mother, I have a distinct way of moving my nose around and up and down at “shop bought” cookies. Of course, my mother always made them herself as it was also too expensive to buy them in the shop, so naturally I would be a “cookie snob” 🙂 I completely went off the rail yesterday! I baked finely chopped, dark chocolate oat cookies and biscotti. The biscotti recipe is my mother’s, so I knew it would be perfect.  My neighbour also enters my post today. She is italian. Many times we talk over the fence and share tips about growing vegetables and flowers.

Come to think of it, while I was outside, waiting for the biscotti to finish baking, she handed me a handful of cherry tomatoes, obviously grown by her. This is what brings me to “pantry pasta”. We also went out last night, so I had to cook something that I had available, while still covered in flour all over!  Having a handful of fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes gave me the idea of plain, natural flavours.

Back to the biscotti,  the following compliment, I give credit to my mother – My neighbour Ave, told me this morning, that they call it “cantucci” and it is her husband’s favourite. She said it was absolutely delicious and her being Italian can’t find fault with it, and will have to ask me for MY recipe! Proud daughter with a very big smile!:-) So there you go mum, you know you are the perfect woman 🙂 So let’s start with the pasta, then we’ll move onto the biscotti and I think I will leave the dark chocolate oat cookies for another day 🙂 Don’t worry, I WILL add it 🙂

Pantry Pasta

Linguine pasta

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 pack of bacon, cut into bite size pieces

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan

50ml of dry white wine

6-7 slices of jalapeno, pips removed and finely sliced

2 handfuls of slices mushrooms

Put some water on to boil for your pasta. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the olive oil, garlic and jalapeños. Mix through. Add the mushrooms. Allow them to brown. Add your pasta to the boiling, salted water and cook till al dente. Now add the bacon and the tomatoes. Toss lightly while the bacon is cooking.

When the bacon is done, add the lemon juice and white wine. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Add half of your parmesan to the mixture and toss. Now, drain your pasta, allow at least 1 tablespoon of pasta water left in the pan with the pasta. Spoon the pasta in the pan with the bacon & mushroom mixture. Toss lightly.

Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 – 10 minutes. The pasta will absorb the flavours and the juices. When done, dish up and sprinkle each bowl of pasta with the remaining parmesan, plain, simple and lovely!

Mom’s biscotti or Biscotti Della Nocciola

500ml plain flour

250ml caster sugar

100g roasted hazelnuts

5ml vanilla essence

pinch of salt

5ml baking powder

2 eggs

zest of two lemons, finely grated

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sieve your flour,sugar,baking powder & salt in together in a large mixing bowl and put aside.

Beat your eggs, zest & vanilla essence together in a separate bowl.  Add this to your flour mixture, along with the nuts and mix with a wooden spoon to a soft,but  manageable dough.  Divide the dough in two. Roll in cylinder forms. Place fairly far apart on a butter greased baking tray as they rise a fair amount. Sprinkle with flour and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Now, cut in thin to medium slices. Place them back on the baking tray and allow to “dry” on a cooling rack in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius for 3o minutes. Take out of the oven and enjoy  🙂