Thursday, October 8, 2015

Peanut Butter and Apple (English) Muffin

Enjoying our picnic
at Belleisle
Having just returned from 2 weeks in Florida, visiting friends and relatives, it was time to catch up with our daughter.  She suggested a walk after work and this morphed into a lovely Autumn picnic!

It was after work for her and me "working" in the kitchen!  My daughter has recently become Vegan and it is going to be a challenge to find recipes suitable for her!  Even in saying that, I must admit, it is really more about reading ingredients and realising Vegan is not too difficult a concept to get used to.  (I was a very dedicated and strict Vegetarian for a few years so I get the drive to eat healthy and applaud her efforts.)

After realising my day was not as long as I would have liked, I settled for Chunky Chilli Bean Soup and a peanut butter and apple English Muffin.  (They are only referred to as Muffins in the UK!  But I have to say "English" so others will know what sort of muffin I used!)  I thought I had shared the soup recipe but it appears as if I have not, so that will have to be done soon.

I must admit the muffin idea was not original, but I don't know where I saw it!  It has been a few months since I have had time to participate in the Peanut Butter Bash and this month the extra ingredient is Apple.  I was having no luck with ideas and had looked around on the web.  Somewhere I saw this and had to recreate it based on memory!  But it is so simple and so delicious, there isn't really any right or wrong!  

(Just a note to say I have had to stop participating in the peanut butter bash, still too much going on with my home life and it is easier this way.  It was fun though!)

Most of the English muffins I saw were made with butter, so I was not able to use them. However, I found one with cinnamon and raisin that did not include butter.  This added another nice dimension to the mixture of peanut butter and apple!  There is really no measuring in this but I will provide a bit of guidance based on the first and only time I have made these.  (Believe me, they will be made often after this!)

Peanut Butter and Apple (English) Muffins


(English) Muffins
Apples  (1 was enough for 2 muffins)
Peanut Butter (I used chunky but smooth would be just as good)
Cinnamon and Sugar combined to your taste

Cut the muffins in half and spread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Slice apples very thin and stack them, think of Jenga and make a short stack like that! 

Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Grill for about 5 minutes.  

I did remember reading that it worked better to let it grill longer than you would expect and this was true for me too.  I started at only 2 minutes and had to keep putting them back, 2 minutes at a time, 4 times!  But the time I was happy with the result, the sugar was all bubbly and the apples were soft.  These muffins are fabulous, if I do say so myself!

Nothing's better than a picnic.

Zooey Deschanel

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Simple Art of Cooking Rice

A group effort was needed to chop all the ingredients for Thai Curry Paste
My friend, Sue, and I were very lucky recipients of The Cook School gift vouchers for Christmas gifts!  (I shamelessly campaigned for Santa to put a voucher in my stocking because I knew Sue was getting one and I wanted us to go together!)  Believe it or not, this is not the last of my Christmas gifts!  In November, I am very much looking forward to seeing Kevin Bridges at the Hydro with my family!

I had been intrigued by the Knife Skills course, but we
managed to get a bit of knife skills during this class!
It took Sue and I quite a while to find a day that suited our schedule!  But, last week, we had the pleasure of spending a day learning Thai Street Food!  During this day, the 10 students learned how to make a Thai Curry Paste, Roast Prawn and watermelon salad with green chilli and roasted peanuts, Sang Wa and Caramel Pineapple with chilli and mint. We had so much fun with this that we have scheduled our own personal day to try to duplicate what we learned.....I expect you will read more about that in a few weeks!

I had not intended to post anything about this day until we had experimented and seen if our results were worthy of discussion!  However, the attention my Facebook post got about the simple way our chef told us to cook rice said to me that I should post this so I can refer to it again myself!

With all 10 people scurrying around chopping, stirring and basically just thinking about all the things going on in our own stations, it was up the chef to make the rice!  So this is what he told us:

Put the rice in a pan, he did no more than 10 servings at a time. 10 Servings seems way more than I would have been comfortable with anyway.  Last night, I only made 2 servings.

Use your pinky to gauge the depth of the water over the rice. As in, lay your finger down and the depth of water should just be the depth of your finger. Of course, almost your whole hand gets wet but who cares! 

Put a lid on, bring to boil and then turn off the heat and time for 7 minutes. And it worked. This was just rice, not Uncle Ben's or anything. I never expected rice to cook that quickly but it did!

The only complaint my husband had was he prefers rice that is not sticky.  This method is stickier than the way I usually make it, but so much easier......I wonder how long it will take him to get used to it!!    ;-)

If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it's not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others - it's the same with music.