Monday, November 19, 2012

Keeping it simple - healthy-ish muffins

Last week I missed out on posting, for basically no reason other than my frustration at my own inadequacy. I had baked these delicious healthy cupcakes with the same base as the 80Kcal cupcakes but then I faltered rather badly on the topping. Meringue - been there, done that. I tried a chocolate dip topping but it didn't look good. So then I tried a basic icing topping but again it was too boring and I ended up leaving some of the cupcakes totally bare. Well as irony would have it, the recipient of said cupcakes preferred the frosting free ones, which left me feeling a little bit.....why did I bother, I suck, inadequacy cloud..... you get the picture!

This week however I return and this time I am keeping things simple with delicious, healthy-ish autumnal muffins. They are deliciously spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and bejeweled with plump sultanas. The muffin itself is made with whole-wheat and oats to make it healthy and wholesome. The over-all effect is not too sweet but hits all the right notes of a little treat when you wanna be good too. It would make a perfect breakfast muffin.

Spiced Whole-wheat Sultana and Oat Muffins

300g               Wholewheat flour
30g                  Oatflakes
20g                  Wheat germ
2 tsp                 Baking powder
1 tsp                 Baking Soda
1/2 tsp              Salt
1 tsp                 Cinnamon
3/4 tsp              Nutmeg
150g                 Caster Sugar
2                       Egg yolks
240ml               Natural low fat yoghurt
120ml               melted Butter
250ml               strong Tea
200g                 Sultanas

to decorate
20g Rolled Oats
25g Brown sugar

If you're planning this recipe in advance it's best to soak the sultanas overnight but if you don't have time just start soaking the sultanas before you take out any of your ingredients to get started.

Preheat your oven to 200'C/400'F/Gas Mark 6. Mix together your flour, oat flakes, wheat germ, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Normally I would say your should sieve them together but that's difficult with the wholewheat and wheat germ and all that so I say whisk them thoroughly.
In a separate bowl add your sugar, melted butter, yoghurt, egg yolks together and again whisk thoroughly. Now pour the dry ingredients onto the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon only enough to combine. Then drain the tea away from the sultanas and cover the sultanas in a little more flour. Add the sultanas and again mix only until combined. Spoon into muffin tin and heat a frying pan on the hob. Toast the rolled oats. Once the oats are toasted pour them into a container with the brown sugar and pour this combination over the scooped muffins before baking.

Bake for 20-30mins and cool on a wire rack. Then enjoy being healthy and happy =)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ghoulish Tricks and treats - Raspberry and White Chocolate Alco-cake pops

A little late for all hallow's eve, I will admit but these delicious monsters are just as edible in spherical form any time of the year.

These little ghouls are shaped into skulls and then dipped/covered in white chocolate. 

Raspberry and White Chocolate Alco-cakepops (makes 24)

Raspberry Cake

300g Unsalted Butter
300g Caster Sugar
3 whole eggs
4 egg yolks
400g Plain White Flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp Beet juice/ 1 tbsp red food colouring
2 cans of preserved/ 300g fresh Raspberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar

Cake-pop mix

60-100ml Raspberry Liquer
300mlWhipped Cream
2-3tbsp Icing Sugar


Cake pop sticks
500g White Chocolate
Black/Red/Glitter Colour powders
1 tbsp Alcohol of choice

To make your cake, preheat your oven to 180/350/Gas mark 5. Put your raspberries and 2 tbsps of sugar into a saucepan and heat and beat until you have a liquid. Put this liquid through a sieve and back into the saucepan, reduce for 3-5 minutes until you have a raspberry sauce.Put aside to cool. 
Beat together the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and egg yolks and then sieve your flour and salt. Alternating between the egg mixture and the flour add each into the butter/sugar and stir to combine. Finally add in your raspberry sauce and red food colouring until you have achieved a dark pink/red mixture. Pour into a cake tin and cook for 30-40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Put your cake on a rack to cool.

Once your cake is cool break it up into crumbs. Whip the cream and icing sugar together. Fold in the raspberry liquer. Fold (do not mash) this mixture into the cake crumbs and then roll the mixture gently into balls. To make the ghouls heads i took the head of a skeleton doll and cut it in half. I then sterilized it, greased it with butter and pressed the ball into it. Then set your cake balls in the fridge while you melt the white chocolate. 

Melt 3/4 of the white chocolate over a saucepan of boiling water and then remove from the pan and add the rest of the white chocolate to temper. Once the chocolate is nice and melted dip the top of the cake pop sticks and stick them into the balls/heads. Cool these in the freezer briefly and then dip your cake pops/ghouls head into the white chocolate and let them stand in foam/cakepop stand until the chocolate has hardened.
Mix a small amount of black and red colour powders with edible glitter and your tablespoon of high perentage alcohol. Use this to pain on the eyes or to colour the outside of the pops and then enjoy.

As you can see the outside is ghoulish white and the inside is red and still very soft and fluffy (due to the folding, not mashing the cake-pop mixture)

Eating his head- grr argh yum ;)

Honeymoon first Stops: Boston and Las Vegas

We left London on A Saturday afternoon and flew to Boston, arriving in at 7.30pm Boston time. We somewhat regretted flying from London when ...