Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Easiest Muffins EVER!

Since I have been back, I seem to have become obsessed with baking. So much so that I am out of plain flour!  So I have had to search for recipes using Self Raising flour. This is harder than I think it should be, none of my cookbooks seem to address the fact that this type of flour exists!

But in my search, I have discovered all kinds of fun things I hope to try one day, like Welsh Cakes and Rock Cakes.   But this was not my mission - my son was coming up to Glasgow to do some filming and would not be coming to visit us, even though we are less than one hour's drive away!  There might be some parents that would not be happy about this situation. But, realistically speaking, what else could he do?  He was scheduled here there and everywhere on Saturday and Sunday and had been busy all day Friday.  So if Mohammad won't come to the mountain, the muffins have to go to Mohammad!  And we made arrangements to see him Friday night.

The Martin that lived with us was never interested in my baking, but the Martin that came home at Christmas thoroughly enjoyed anything I made!  I have no idea why he changed, but am delighted that someone actually eats what I bake now, apart from Alan and myself.  So I decided he might appreciate having an emergency supply of something in his hotel room for the weekend he was working.  I know I always have emergency food with me at all times, but especially when travelling. 

So here is a muffin recipe I found by accident on cooks.com, and I guarantee I will use this again and again.

Here is the recipe just cut and pasted, why mess with perfection?


1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 egg
1 c. blueberries or any fruit
Mix flour and sugar. Add eggs and liquids. Fold in fruit. Pour into muffin tin (paper lined or greased). Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. If using frozen fruit, DO NOT DEFROST.

Well, I guess I need to mess with perfection a bit so that anyone can use this recipe!

Easy Fruit Muffins

1 1/2 cup, 315g or 11 ounces Self raising flour
1/2 cup, 170g or 6 ounces sugar
1/2 cup, 120ml or 4 ounces milk
1/4 cup, 60ml or 2 ounces oil
1 cup blueberries or other fruit  (ok, I didn't convert this, but easy to fill a coffee cup, or mug would be better, with berries and get this.  I also think any variety of berries is going to weigh differently)

 I used frozen winter fruits, with big red grapes and big blackberries, worrying about how this would fare in the oven being so big and not defrosted.  They were fantastic!  So I am now a great believer in any type of berries in this and would really consider only using frozen!

These were really hard to resist, glad most of them got sent to Glasgow!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baking with Corbyn

Due to the horrible chicken pox, I had not seen my 4 year old grandson for ages!  Alan had the pleasure of seeing him through the first week we were back because he helps ferry Corbyn between nursuries and things. 

His Mum told me what Corbyn was really looking forward to was baking with Maw Maw.  Lucky for him I had just been to Aldi (mainly for fruit and things to make fruit salad and let us get some healthy food in the house).  They had these cute little Loving Cupcake kits marked down to 50pence!  (it was the week after Valentine's Day). 

He was happy with this idea, but rejected the little love hearts!  I guess the boy in him just could not cope with that much romanticism!  Lucky I found chocolate sprinkles that were acceptable to the little chef!
After allowing his grandparents to share his creation, he then divided the rest between his Mummy and Daddy.  Then Corbyn had the cheek to complain that there wasn't any left for him.  I had to remind him he had already eaten 3 and that was more than anyone else would get.  Not sure it was recognized as a valid argument though!

"Grandchildren are God's way of compensating us for growing old."
Mary H. Waldrip

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chunky Chilli Bean Soup

After travelling through 5 states during our trip to take Mom's ashes home and settle her business, we were really tired of restaurant food and were looking forward to eating just regular meals.  One staple of my diet is soup, I really missed that while away.  So I found a recipe that sounded interesting in the WeightWatchers The Complete Kitchen cookbook.  It was delicious and so easy, with ingredients readily found in a kitchen. So here it is! 

Chunky Chilli Bean Soup

1 onion chopped
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
3 celery sticks, diced
1 red pepper, de-seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 teaspoons cumin  *
a pinch dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
410g can kidney beans, in water, drained and rinsed **
198g can sweetcorn, drained
juice of a lime
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1.  Place the onion in a large lidded saucepan with 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) of the stock.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes then add the celery and peppers.  Cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2.  Add the cumin or whatever spice you use, chilli flakes and tomato puree  and cook for 1 minute, stirring to bring out the flavour, before adding the chopped tomatoes and the rest of the stock.  Bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. 

3.  Add the beans and sweetcorn to the soupand simmer for 5 minutes.  Mix in the lime juice and serve the soup scattered with the coriander. 

16 Propoints per recipe
Serves 6

As you can see by the picture, the only way I can figure out what the serving size is, is to just put the soup in 6 containers when getting ready to store it! 

* I used "Magic Swamp Dust" a spice mix I bought in New Orleans since I cannot use cumin
**  Since I don't care for kidney beans, I soaked a cup of mixed beans I bought at Holland & Barratt over night, boiled them following the instructions and then added them to the soup.

This soup was delicious and I enjoyed every bit of it!  And everyone around me was really interested in it since it smelled fantastic and looked great!  So easy to make....

“There is nothing like soup. It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike, unless of course you get your soup in a can.”
Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking' (1988)