Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Sorry for my absence from this four walls of blogdom. I keep looking at the blog on my Speed Dial thinking "I must update that..." but I never quite do. I haven't really been cooking or eating healthily for the last few weeks because my Dad has now been in hospital for three weeks. Thankfully the diagnosis wasn't as serious as it could have been, but Mum and Dad are in for a long recovery period, and I am up here, far away from the two of them. I will be going home on Monday to see Dad and look after Mum a bit, but as ever I can't stay for long - I have a job up here, things to study, houses to move...

I did make a cake yesterday - the first cake I have ever decorated! Look out for that post in the next few days!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Double posting - British Asparagus

It's not often I post twice in one day, but I felt bad for neglecting my blog for the past week or so, and also I had a bit of a cooking spree today. I had this urge to cook - you've seen the baking results, and here is what materialised for dinner. We had some British Asparagus sitting waiting to be used, and I was craving a risotto. Dad always used to make either a risotto or a curry whenever we had a roast chicken. When I was younger, I certainly preferred risotto, and when I got the chance to make it for the first time a few years ago, I jumped at the chance. My first risotto was a Broad Bean and Lemon Zest, and it was pretty good, for a first attempt. Now, it's been a while since I roasted a whole chicken (I think it must have been the epic Christmas dinner I cooked in our small kitchen...) so this risotto uses ham, but would be lovely without, I'm sure.

Now I'm craving a curry. B will be revising hard at his house over the next few days, so I spy another curry making opportunity in the next few days!

Asparagus and Ham Risotto
Makes 2 large portions

200g risotto rice
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
Bunch of asparagus
1 courgette
1 onion
1 clove garlic
100g ham, chopped
4tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra to sprinkle on top

1. Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the asparagus and put into cold water. Chop the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Chop the stalks into small pieces.
2. Finely chop the onion, courgette and garlic.
3. Heat oil/frylight in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic, courgette and asparagus pieces. Fry off for around 10 minutes
4. Add the risotto rice and stir until the rice is coated with the oil.
5. Add the stock, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Once all the stock is absorbed by the rice, add the next ladle until all the stock has been used. The rice should now be al dente - soft, but with bite.
6. Add the asparagus tips and ham. Stir through and heat for a few minutes. Stir through the 4tbsp parmesan. Season to taste.
7. Serve, topped with more parmesan.



Muffin time!



I love muffin time. I love making muffins, full stop. It's a pity that they are sitting there, staring and me, and I'm having to be good and not eat them. I did sneak a few crumbs, just to test that they were cooked, and were good, of course. However, they were passed over to my chief taster - the ever willing boyfriend, B who declared both muffins to be amazing.

He has some evil exams coming up next week, so these muffins are for him to cheer him up, and hopefully give him good luck in his exams. Good luck, B, I'm sure you'll be amazing!

This month sees my first Daring Bakers challenge. I cannot wait to try it out and get involved in Daring Bakers - it seems like such fun!

Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
From (here)


Cheesecake mixture:
250g cream cheese (e.g Philadelphia) at room temperature
60g castor sugar
1 egg

Chocolate Mixture:

180g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp cocoa powder
120g self raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder


1. Preheat oven to 150°C

2. Get your muffin pan and cases ready

3. Make the Cheesecake mixture: beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well mixed in. Set the mixture aside whilst you make the chocolate mix.

4. Make the chocolate mix: beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Sieve the dry ingredients together and fold into the egg mixture.

5. Start by placing half the chocolate mixture in the muffin cases. Then cover with all of the cheesecake mixture.Cover with the remaining chocolate mixture. Gently spread the chocolate mix so that it covers the cheesecake. Using a toothpick or skewer make some swirls through the muffin.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. Cool completely. Can be chilled in the fridge before serving, but are lovely before if you can’t resist!

Banana Cinnamon Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
From (here)


125g butter, diced
75g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
75ml milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 bananas, peeled and mashed (add lemon juice to prevent browning)


1. Preheat oven to 190°C

2. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined.

3. Sift the flour and cinnamon together. Gradually add the flour and milk to the butter mixture, alternating between the tow until well combined. Add and mix in the maple syrup.

4. Fold in the mashed bananas and combine well

5. Spoon the mix into the muffin cases.

6. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a sweker inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

7. Cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm, or cool. Can be stored in the fridge, but are best eaten on the day.

 Yummy Muffin goodness!