Sunday, 28 July 2013

Carrot Muffins

I have successfully made muffins. Last year I tried to make banana and blueberry muffins, they didn't work out. The muffins were strangely rubbery in texture. This put me off making muffins for quite a while, until earlier this week when I realised that we had a lot of carrots about to go. Enter the savoury muffin, or at least savoury was the plan, this is actually really nice as a semi sweet too. I have decided to call them carrot and olive oil as you can very much taste the olive element in a very good way. Use good olive oil, it's worth it.

Carrot and Olive Oil Muffins

This recipe makes about 12 muffins depending on what size cases you're using.

You will need:

  • 150ml olive oil
  • 90g brown or caster sugar (I used golden caster)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 225g carrot, roughly grated
  • A handful of sunflower seeds
  • A handful of flaked almonds
  • 150g whole flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Get a muffin tray ready, line it with paper cases. Preheat your oven to 190°C.

Put the oil, sugar and egg into a bowl and mix together, then add the carrot, milk, sunflower seeds and almonds. Stir the mixture well.

So that's your wet ingredients out of the way. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, coriander and salt. Now for the fun part, introduce the two, don't be too formal about it. Pour in the ingredients from the wet bowl and stir lightly, until just combined. You don't want to knock the air out of this mixture, you want to hardly stir at all. 

Pop a couple of spoonfuls of mixture into each muffin case. I filled mine level with the top of the case as they don't rise very much. I had visions of it overflowing everywhere as it cooked, this didn't happen. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes, you're looking for them to rise and spring back lightly when pressed. For extra security I also stuck a skewer in the middle of the largest one at this point to see if it had cooked through. If the skewer comes out clean then they're done. Remove them from the oven and let them sit in the tray for about 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Now enjoy.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

No Sudden Moves.

I've been thinking.

It's increasingly difficult to justify eating meat. This has been nagging at me for a while now. I'll not list all of the reasons, there are many and various, both political and personal, and all of the reasons don't encompass all of the animals.

Becoming a vegetarian overnight isn't likely to be sustainable, I'd not know how and i'd probably end up dropping the idea.

So for now, I'll not be cooking red meat, and will avoid food that's based around it when eating out. What meat I do buy won't be from supermarkets and there will be a lot less chicken and pork. Tending towards none. We'll see.

But if you go on or in water, the chances of being eaten by me have greatly increased.

Just so you know.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sausage, Mash and Onion and Beetroot Gravy

Below there is a picture. It should be a picture of a pile of mash with sausages on top covered with onion gravy, instead it's an empty plate. You can still see the signs of mash and gravy if you look closely.

The highlight was the gravy. Without a doubt the best gravy I have ever created. So I thought I'd share it. This is not traditional onion gravy by any stretch of the imagination but trust me it works.

Magnificent Onion and Beetroot Gravy

You'll need:
  • an onion in large chunks
  • a beetroot (or in my case three very tiny beetroots)
  • some butter
  • some cooking oil
  • a bit of salt and pepper
  • a dash of pomegranate molasses (probably optional but delicious)
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • half a teaspoon of marmite
  • a teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • a tablespoon of sugar
Put the butter and cooking oil into a pan and let it melt, chuck in the large onion chunks. Make sure your hob is on the lowest possible heat it can be, let the onions sit about. Peel and cut your beetroot into very thin strips, add to the onions then sprinkle in a little salt and pepper. Let the onions and beetroot cook slowly until the onion is mostly transparent. The low and slow cooking releases the natural sugars in the onion and beetroot meaning that you'll get a wonderfully gloopy gravy.

Add a tiny amount (just covering the mixture) of water to the pan along with the pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar, marmite, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce then stir in the sugar. Now you can leave it there for a bit while you brown off those sausages in a frying pan (the ones you're making the gravy for, remember). Once they're browned add the gravy to the pan, try to mix in any sticky bits on the bottom of the pan, they're just browned sausage and will add flavour. Turn down the heat on the frying pan to the lowest it'll go and let it bubble away for at least 15 minutes, until the sausages are done. 

You should end up with sausages coated in the gravy goodness, with just enough left over to drizzle mercilessly over your mash. Because this mixture is sticky there's no need to mess about with cornflour, you can see when the gravy is done by looking at the consistency. If it looks like gravy then it's done, if it's not thick enough leave it for longer on the low heat.

Serve over mashed potato, the sharpness of the beetroot and creaminess of the mash work wonderfully together. Enjoy. 

I think I may have accidentally upped the gravy game in this house. Sorry Paul. 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Crusted Lamb : Part 2

So this is what it looked like:

Christmas does get in the way of things doesn't it?

Anyway, the lamb went in the oven for a long time on a low heat and came out pretty good: a little bit pinker in the middle than some of my guests were prepared for, but hey, that's what the end pieces are for.

So yes, it worked pretty well, the crust didn't really stick - as you can see in the picture, it fell off on one side, so a little better preparation and care beforehand might have helped.

Also, the stuff I put in the crust mix plus samphire ended up making the whole thing very salty, probably a little bit too salty to be honest, but that's easy to tone down, and I was a little unambitious with the almonds, too: more would have worked really well.

This will be better next time, but by no means a failure: it all got eaten.