Monthly Archives: January 2015

Blueberry Breakfast Muffins

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Breakfast foods again! There does seem to be a trend, doesn’t there ūüôā And even better, this week is National Breakfast Week (see more here), so there really is no excuse not to give these a try.

The original recipe appeared on¬†BBC Good Food¬†– but here I’ve made some substitutions to help the muffins keep you fuller for longer, which I think is key in any good breakfast food – and of course to make them dairy free too!

So, onto the muffins!¬†This is a recipe that I keep going back to. Packed with goodness from the porridge oats and wholegrain flour and low on added sugar, they really do keep you full until lunch.¬†Even better, these muffins freeze really well so I often bake a batch at the weekend and then defrost them as needed (overnight on the kitchen side is perfect). Although they are just as good cold, in the winter I like to pop them in the microwave until just warm – the ultimate treat of a ‘freshly’ baked muffin in 30 seconds¬†to me is the perfect way to start the day.

Although the predominant flavour of these muffins is blueberry, you can also taste the cinnamon, nutmeg and banana which is added to the batter. These warming spices help tone down the sweetness of the blueberries and really bring out the flavour of the oats and wholegrain flour.

I’ve finished these muffins¬†with a nutty granola topping (find the Granola recipe here) or you could simply add a few chopped nuts or oats of your choice¬†to provide a bit of crunch.

So give them a try, whether it is for breakfast or a mid morning snack, and I promise you’ll be reaching for these in your freezer again and again.

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Healthy Granola

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Breakfast – The most important meal of the day. And lets be honest, sometimes it can become the most boring one, especially on a week day. I’ve never been a cereal or porridge fan, so often I resort to toast with peanut butter… a worthy breakfast but sometimes I do fancy a change!

So along comes granola… a crunchy mix of your favourite nuts, seeds and oats, packed full of fibre and protein – what’s not to like? Well…nothing! Now, you could go out and buy one of the many branded versions around. But I want to convince you to make your own, and believe me, once you do you won’t ever want to settle for the shop bought stuff again.

  1. It takes less than 10 minutes to make 10 breakfast worths (I’m not kidding – If I was concentrating I think I could do it in under 5 – theres a challenge for you to beat!). Even better, you can easily do this one weekend and it lasts for weeks.
  2. You can personalise it. Don’t like almonds? Don’t add them! Want more sweetness but don’t like raisins? No problem, add cranberries!¬†More than that¬†you really can use whatever you’ve got in the cupboard – and equally skip or substitute for what you do have!
  3. It is healthier. Its scary when you start reading the packets and realise how much sugar is added to shop bought stuff. Now, as someone who writes a baking blog I can’t profess to be counting every teaspoon of sugar I consume, but I do try not to add more than needed. For breakfast I want to eat something wholesome, not something that’s going to make me hungry an hour later.
  4. It is so versatile. My favourite way to eat granola is with a heaped tablespoon of coconut yoghurt and some fruit – but why not eat it with almond milk, or make some breakfast muffins and add some granola before baking for a crunchy topping? The uses are endless!
  5. It’s cheaper.¬†Enough said ūüôā

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So Рheres a toast to the wonderful granola. I hope it inspires you to give it a try.

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Filed under breakfast, Gluten Free, Sweet treats, vegan

Hazelnut Shortbread

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As I mentioned in my Christmas Fruit Loaf post, I spent this Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and it was wonderful. One of the best things was the sheer amount of thought and effort my boyfriend’s mum had gone to to ensure that there was always a dairy free sweet treat for me around the house.

One of the many bakes she made were these delicious Hazelnut Shortbreads. Light and melt in the mouth (like all shortbreads should be) with small pieces of chopped roasted hazelnuts throughout, they were just perfection. These are required to be eaten sitting down, with your full attention, with a cup of tea or coffee on the side. No cheating allowed Рthese are not your average biscuits!

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As well as chopped roasted hazelnuts there is also a small amount of hazelnut syrup. I have used Monin Hazelnut coffee syrup which works perfectly and ensures an extra hit of hazelnut flavour – you can find these types of coffee syrups in the coffee aisle (who would have thought such a logical place!) in most big supermarkets.

The only tiny addition I have made to the recipe from my boyfriend’s mum is to introduce a small amount of cornflour, which according to the Scottish inventors of shortbreads is used to ensure melt in the mouth perfection. Although, as my boyfriend’s mum proved, it is possible to get this effect without using it, if your touch is not super light it helps the biscuit be a little more forgiving and still give you the most melt in the mouth shortbread as possible.

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Raspberry Meringue Cupcakes

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Happy New Year! I find it strange the way January starts the year. After all the excitement in December, January can seem dull and plain with little to look forward to. So today I created these cupcakes, full of wonderful summery flavours to remind us that winter will shortly be giving way to the brighter seasons.

These cupcakes are lightly flavoured with lemon and then with a hit of raspberry in the centre – provided by my homemade Raspberry Curd in this instance – but you could easily do this with raspberry jam if making curd is a step too far! Raspberries are, in my opinion, one of the best summer fruits. Once they are back in season I will do a step by step post on how to make raspberry curd – it is well worth the time and effort.

— Update! — If you would like to see how to make the Raspberry Curd, the full recipe is here.

I decided to top these cupcakes with meringue as Lemon Meringue Pie is one of my favourite desserts, and it makes such a nice change to heavy buttercream as a topping. I’ve used Italian Meringue as it is already cooked by the time you top the cupcakes by whisking in a hot sugar syrup so it doesn’t create any wetness on your cakes. Plus its tasty ūüėÄ

Enjoy!

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