I made a mess…and some eclairs!

I have been a wee bit quiet the past week or so because Nathan and I have been staying with some friends with Dublin while we search for a new place.  I have still been cooking though…and I have definitely still been eating (probably a bit too much)!  As I’ve mentioned before, our friend Phil is a pastry chef.  I went to work with him last week for a day and got to make financiers, a moist French cake made with ground almonds and browned butter, in a variety of flavours (pistachio, hazelnut and raspberry).  I also made apple squares with a frangipane filling (once again made with ground almonds).  Then Phil let me loose on a sachertorte (a rich chocolate Italian Viennese cake with an apricot filling and chocolate ganache coat).

This reads "Nathan smells"...I ran out of room to write lovely!

This reads “Nathan smells”…I ran out of room to write “lovely”!

Not only did I get to drool and enjoy the numerous pastries and cakes which surrounded me but I also got to marvel at the slick kitchen equipment that could make batches of hundreds and watch with awe as Phil and his co-worker skilfully produced croissants and cakes as I carefully absorbed the tips and critiques with which Phil instructed me.  My muscle ached from stirring, whisking and lifting but I went home happy!

A delicious moist hazelnut financier

A delicious moist hazelnut financier

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While staying with Phil and Andrea, I also got to make elairs from Phil’s ‘little black book’.  Instead of the usual list of girls’ phone numbers, Phil’s black book is filled with delicious recipes for every pastry and Italian cake imaginable.  Unfortunately I cannot share Phil’s recipe, but I can share some of his tips for making the perfect choux pastry.

Eclairs

1. The warmer the pastry when it goes in the oven, the better it rises, so try and get through the process as quickly as possible.

2. Most recipes call for you to melt butter and flour together, and bring it to the boil.  Try to get the mixture as hot as possible, until it begins to stick to the bottom. Then, pour in half the eggs first and whisk frantically quickly to cool the mixture so the eggs don’t scramble.  Afterwards, add the rest of the eggs.

3. Next, the pastry dough is mixed in a free standing mixer.  Now, it’s mixed for quite some time.  Phil told me not to stop the dough early.  The dough becomes shiny after a while and most people stop here but it’s okay to mix it a bit further.

4. Once the pastry is piped and in the oven, make sure it is cooked evenly and browned everywhere.  If your eclairs are pale when they leave the oven, and you fill them with cream, the pastry will become soggy if left for a little while.

Thanks Phil for these great tips.  I hope I got them right!

I am at camp this week cooking for around 25 people so expect lots of tales from my cooking escapades soon!

Jenna x

Brioche filled with pastry cream...it looked prettier until I knocked it over!

Brioche filled with pastry cream…it looked prettier until I knocked it over!

Coconut Porridge

So I have been hiding out from the rain in Dublin.  Nathan started work in Dublin on Monday so our friends Phil and Andrea have been kindly putting us up.  Phil, who is a pastry chef, has in turn, been forcing pain aux raisins, almond croissants and pain au chocolat on me daily (and when I say ‘forcing on me’, I mean he has been bringing them home and I have attacked the box and greeted them like they belong snuggled up inside my stomach).  Anyway, to add to the fat fest, I made this porridge yesterday.  I love porridge on wet, grey mornings.  It makes me warm inside.  The coconut milk adds a hint of tropical, reminding me that it’s summer, even though the weather doesn’t agree!

I'm going to pretend that I tossed the raspberries in icing sugar, and not that they're still frozen...yes, that's what I did!

I’m going to pretend that I tossed the raspberries in icing sugar, and not that they’re still frozen…yes, that’s what I did!

Coconut and Raspberry Porridge (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups porridge oats
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400ml)
  • 1 cups milk (I used 2% fat)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp (heaped) cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toasted coconut and raspberries to top

Method:

  1. Add oats, coconut milk, milk and water to a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Place saucepan on a low to medium heat and bring to a boil.  Simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.  Add additional water/ milk if you would like a thinner consistency.
  3. Once cooked to desired consistency, remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, salt, honey and coconut oil.  This porridge isn’t too sweetened so you can adjust the quantity of honey to taste.
  4. Top with toasted coconut and raspberries.  The raspberries are essential.  They bring prettiness to the dish…prettiness is essential.

Enjoy!

Jenna x

Links to like and a trip to Kylemore Abbey

Nathan and I spent yesterday sightseeing in Galway, since we have such little time left there, and today we’re visiting friends in Dublin so this is a lazy post.  Here are some pictures from our sightseeing and some links to keep you busy in the kitchen in the meantime.

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Flowers in the walled gardens at Kylemore Abbey

Flowers in the walled gardens at Kylemore Abbey

The Walled Victorian Gardens

The Walled Victorian Gardens

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In between trying to come up with my own recipes or adapting recipes to my own personal taste, I quite often stumble upon recipes that are just perfect exactly as they are or recipes that I haven’t had time to try out yet but still want to share with you because they look so good.  Here’s what I’ve been drooling over lately:

  1. Cornflake Marshmallow Cookies by Shutterbean.  I have made these with and without the marshmallows and both versions are deliciously buttery and crunchy.
  2. This Barbecued Chicken Satay at South Africa Uncorked looks delicious.  Satay and a glass of wine…my weekend is sorted!
  3. This icecream cake by Catríona at Wholesome Ireland is simple, budget friendly and perfect for the great Irish weather we’re having!
  4.  These granola bars from Liz at I Heart Vegetables are no bake and don’t have the long list of ingredients a lot of supposedly ‘healthy’ granola bars have.  Win!
  5. And finally I wanted to share this amazing video of Ireland two Canadians made while holidaying here.  It’s edited so well and showcases Ireland’s beauty.

Enjoy! x

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Moldovan Honey Cornbread Muffins with Barbecued Sausage Centre

Nathan and I have spent a few grueling days making out budgets, looking at houses, travelling backward and forward across the country, being shocked by rental prices and feeling frustrated at not finding anything.  Still, we have time.  We’re just so eager to find our new home.  It will be hard leaving Galway, not just because of the buzzing atmosphere, cordial warmth and rugged, breathtaking scenery, but also due to the invaluable relationships we have made here.  We will miss our friends, those from our church and the group of wonderful teenagers we have spent almost every second Friday with for the last 14 months from the youth group we run.  Location is important, but relationships are vital.  These relationships are what makes leaving Galway the hardest.

Yet, we also have this exciting time of transition to look forward to; new jobs, a new home and new experiences.  Thus, we are sandwiched right between the bitter and the sweet.  Yesterday however, I just wanted sweet.  So to escape from the weight of decision for a little while, I made one really good choice and decided to fuse sweet and juicy barbecued sausages, with a light and fluffy muffin.  For a little while, all the tough decisions evaporated.

While cornbread is extremely popular in some parts of America, it’s not so widely known here.  Corn meal is even quite hard to find.  I buy mine in a local Mediterranean food store, but you can find it in a lot of health food shops here too.  I love using honey in my cornbread to add a delicate sweetness.  This time, I used some of the delicious honey Nathan had been given as a present while in Moldova, but any honey would do.  The qualities of sausages vary in Ireland.  Some sausages contain as little as 26% pork!  I like to use Hodgins sausages because they’re purse-friendly, are Irish made and contain 80% pork (They were 2 euro for a pound of sausages in Dunnes).  For these muffins I chose to use their Barbecue variety – fat, tender sausages coated in barbecue spices.  If you can’t get similar ones though, you could easily use normal sausages or coat your sausages in some barbecue sauce when roasting.

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Honey Cornbread Muffins with a Sausage Centre (makes 12)

Ingredients:

  • 4 jumbo sausages
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup corn flour (i.e. corn meal, not the flour you use to thicken sauces)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (cooled)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C or 390F.  Place sausages in an oven proof dish, drizzle with a tsp of olive oil and bake in oven (once the oven is heated) for about 30 mins or until cooked through.  Alternatively you could fry or grill the sausages.  I just find it’s convenient to lug them in the oven and then make the muffin mixture while they’re cooking.
  2. In a large bowl mix together your dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed.
  5. Once your sausages are cooked, removed from the oven and using a knife and fork, so as not to burn your fingers, cut each sausage into 3 equal pieces (totaling 12 pieces, 1 for each muffin).
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C or 375F.
  7. Grease a 12 hole cupcake tray.  In greasing my mould, I went one fatty step further.  Using a pastry brush, I greased the mould with the leftover fat from the sausages in the bottom of the oven dish.  Sausage grease = tasty grease.
  8. Place one piece of sausage in each cupcake hole.  Then, divide the cornbread mixture evenly between the 12 holes.  I wouldn’t feel like you were compromising the integrity of my recipe if you topped each muffin with a little grated cheddar cheese right now.  Actually, that would be completely okay.
  9. Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins or until muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

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Enjoy!

J  x

‘Could I be any lazier?’ Pasta

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Men and women are different.  Men have this insane ability to eat everything within a 2 mile radius and not gain weight.  I just have to look at what Nathan is eating and I gain 2 pounds.  Okay…so that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.  Men burn calories faster.  So, quite often I will make Nathan some kind of meaty, calorific man food (while trying to sneak in some vegetables so he’ll be around longer) and I eat a salad.  The problem is, sometimes his man food looks really good and although I love my salads, I want some of that calorific tastiness.  See my dilemma?

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That is precisely what happened yesterday, when I cooked him this pasta.  This pasta is so easy to make.  Which is perfect, because I don’t want man food to take up all my time and then not have time to make my salad (or do I?)

There were a lot of pre-prepared elements that helped with this pasta – I tend to buy courgettes when they’re on offer, grate them and freeze them to make my current favourite cake (Courgette and Lime, I will post it next time I make it), to throw into pastas or to make courgette pancakes (oh, another thing I haven’t posted yet).  Don’t have any courgettes?  Use frozen peas, or maybe wilt some spinach in.  I already had some leftover cooked bacon so that went in too, although it would be easy to fry up with the onions and garlic if you had none precooked.  To save time, I often cook pasta in bulk, rinse it to de-starch it and then store it in the fridge.

Creamy Courgette Pasta (serves 2 man sized portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 slices of smoked back bacon (or smoked rashers as we call them in Ireland)
  •  6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 whole courgette, grated (if using from frozen, make sure to squeeze some of the excess water out through a sieve)
  • 1 tub (200ml) sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked pasta (I used wholewheat fusilli)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Optional extras to serve – squeeze of lemon juice, dash of chilli flakes and/ or a grating of parmesan cheese on top for extra manliness! Grrr cheese!

METHOD:

  1. If you’re using pre cooked pasta from the fridge, leave it out of the fridge to warm up a bit.  Make sure your courgette is defrosted too!
  2. On a medium high heat, fry the rashers in the olive oil.  When they begin to brown, add the onion and garlic (both finely diced) and continue to fry, stirring often, until the onions become translucent and both garlic and onions begin to brown.
  3. Add courgette for an additional 2 minutes or until softened.
  4. Reduce to a low heat and add the sour cream and milk.  Stir until mixed.
  5. Add pasta and continue to stir until heated through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and add optional extras.

Conversation after dinner:

Nathan: That was nice dear, but I think it had too much courgette.

Me: Sigh of exasperation!

Enjoy!

Jenna x

P.S. I totally had 3 spoonfuls of this pasta!

On a serious note: A few lessons learned…

So, after almost 3 weeks of pain, I am feeling so much better and incredibly thankful and relieved that it turned out to be a bad infection rather than gallstones as my doctors suspected.  However, I don’t think that my time of illness was completely futile.  I could dwell on the medical expenses, lost experiences and wasted time, however my persistent journey in trusting in God continually proves that sometimes we need to suffer in order to learn something or, that we are even blessed in our suffering.  Now, I am not saying that my few days of pain compare to the immense sadness and poignant tragedies many people face in their lives.  What I term as my ‘suffering’ can barely be deemed suffering when encapsulated in the bigger picture of what others go through.  That said, it was still a nasty experience but despite that, I felt I could not but be grateful in acknowledging some of the benefits I have gained.  There’s always a silver lining right?

I became really ill the day I was due to go to Moldova with my husband, Nathan and a team of 6 others to lead a children’s camp.  Our aim was to share some of our faith in God with the kids there and teach them some English.  Too sick to even manage the journey to the airport, let alone board a 4 hour flight at 12:15am, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed and fearful as I was left alone.  Yet, even that night I was reminded of what great friends I have who called and texted me to check on me and encourage me with their prayerful support.

The next day, my friend Andrea rang and, despite my feeble attempts to dissuade her (only out of politeness), she caught a bus to Galway to come and take care of me.  She ended up spending almost a week with me, cooking for me and keeping me company and sacrificing quality time with her husband and friends to put others (namely me) first.  Andrea’s visit acted as a precursor to a number of visitors, namely my little sister Elaine, my mum and my aunt and uncle.  I was (and always am) so thankful for their love, care and affection.  Throughout all this time, I continued to be inundated with encouraging messages from many.

Finally, after a ten day wait, Nathan came home.  Nathan’s phone had not worked in Moldova, so the only contact we’d had was through the generous contributing of others, when they offered him their phones to text or call.  Before he returned I had been gradually improving, but I must have wanted some TLC from my husband because I started to deteriorate again, and my pain intensified once more.

Trip number two to A & E ensued and after being examined once more, the doctors put me on a course of antibiotics and more painkillers, suspecting a kidney infection or gallstones were wreaking havoc on my insides.  (They quickly dismissed the green alien theory I mentioned in a previous post).  At this point, I would like to mention that although the Irish medical system is currently unjust, ineffective and inefficient, the majority of doctors and nurses I encountered were superb.  University College Hospital Galway has been confronted with a lot of negative press of late, yet I found its staff to be attentive and caring.  Doctors and nurses expressed their genuine heartache and distress at being unable to properly diagnose the cause of my pain, due to lengthy waiting lists for scans and procedures.  I can only imagine it must be agonizingly difficult to have the desire to help people, but not the facilities or power to put in place the measures to do so.  From what I observed, they survive in a high pressure environment by guessing diagnoses without being able to perform necessary scans, procedures, etc. to assist them or confirm their suspicions.  They are shooting in the dark.

After an exhausting 7 hours in A & E, I arrived home and spent the evening in excruciating pain.  Yet, it wasn’t to last long as two days later the antibiotics seemed to be working their magic and I showed rapid improvements that weekend.  A long awaited scan on Monday suggested that I had had kidney stones and a bad infection, a result which I greeted with relief and joy.  With earlier proposals of surgery, first appendix and then gallstones, this news was really the best case scenario.  Nathan and I celebrated with a delicious meal (my favourite way to celebrate of course)!  I went to bed thinking, for the first Tuesday in 3 weeks, I would not have a date with A & E.  My body clearly has a wicked sense of humour…

At 3:30am that night I woke up with unbearable pain in my knee, hip and wrist joints.  Startled, confused and worried it took me minutes to get out of bed, propping myself up with my stronger left wrist.  My right wrist was too sore to move and I could barely bend my knees.  Walking in a, had it not been so painful, comically rigid way trying to determine the source of the pain or optimistically ‘walk it off’, I was only getting worse.  I woke Nathan up to get me painkillers, pray for me and help me back into bed and spent most of the night insufferably aware of every movement I made.  At 8:30am we decided I was in fact, going to have a third date with A & E and after Nathan dressed  me (I wasn’t mobile enough to do it myself) we embarked on our third visit there.  Yet, even getting into the car I found myself thinking ‘Thank God I have the use of my left wrist or I wouldn’t be able to do anything!’

After examinations, blood tests, more pain meds and X-Rays, the doctor informed me I was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I had been prescribed the week earlier.  He sent me home and with anti-inflammatories, painkillers and with no antibiotics today I have swiftly improved, although I am still left with some joint pain which should fade in the next couple of days.  And thus, (hopefully) my sob story ends, but before you get out the tiny violins, now that I’ve explained my circumstances I want to share what I have learned from this experience in the hope that it will encourage others.

  1. There is always a reason to be thankful – had I not been sick, I wouldn’t have grown even closer to Andrea (we had a lot of time for big deep meaningful conversations), I had a loving network of husband, family and friends to support me and a group of prayer warriors battling for me (also proving the power of prayer)!
  2. Being totally helpless in my situation, I was totally reliant on God and his grace.
  3. I have had time to start blogging again!
  4. While I was on a gall bladder diet I learned lots about to what extent foods aid and harm your body.  I thought I had a reasonably healthy diet before, but now I’ve been encouraged to endeavour to be even healthier (though I will never give up my occasional treat!)
An ice lolly toast to good health!

An ice lolly toast to good health!

I’m sorry if this post has felt preachy; I merely intended to share a heartfelt reflection on what I have learned and how I have been blessed.  It was never my intention to ‘preach’ on this blog, but I guess in sharing part of who I am, my faith overflows into that.  At the risk of sounding even preachier, I would like to leave you with this Psalm, which some Moldovans suggested to Nathan that he share with me, and which really gives me a reason to hope:

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

J x

Fruity chewy oat squares…green alien approved!

So I might have gall stones.  Sorry about that…you come looking for something delightfully delicious and I give you gallstones…gross jagged balls of cholesterol.  I’ve been referring to the pain, which I’ve now been experiencing  for two and a half weeks, as a tiny green alien playing with a yo yo inside me.  Sounds cuter than gall stones, but just as sinister.  Well, this tiny green alien means that I have to cut fat out of my diet for two weeks (and possibly longer).

My diet is by no means super fatty.  I balance my cakes, chocolate and ice-cream with salads, veg and lean meats, but the minute I heard I had to give up fats…they were suddenly irresistible.  It was like the little green alien had some magical compass pointing me to butter and sugar.

So, in between waves of pain (movement makes the green alien angry), I managed to whip up these little beauties.  I was sore, but I went to bed happy and full of sugar…without the butter.

I had already made these chewy oat bars before, but I managed to decrease the unhealthy fats and sugar in them even more, by using flaxseed (which appeases the green alien beast) as a binding agent.

These are not buttery, but they are still scrumptious and taste healthy enough to have for breakfast, while still giving me my sweet treat fix.  Most importantly, I do not feel like I’m compromising when I eat these.

Ignore the fact that I left them in a couple of minutes to long and they burnt around the edges...awkward laugh.

Ignore the fact that I left them in a couple of minutes too long and they burnt around the edges…awkward laugh.

Sweet dried fruit! Hooray!

Sweet dried fruit! Hooray!

This is your syrup like consistency.

This is your syrup like consistency (see recipe below).

Fruity chewy oat squares (makes 16 squares)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (I have found a combo of slightly more dried apricots, and equal amounts of dates and sultanas works best.  The apricots and dates are especially good for moisture and sweetness).
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp milled flaxseed
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp  crunchy peanut butter (I used an all natural kind with no added sugar or salt)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 375F and grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan.
  2. Add fruit, apple juice and flaxseed to the pan.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until liquid forms a syrup like consistency.  At the same time you can toast your coconut by spreading it out on a dry tray and placing it in the oven for about 3 minutes or until golden.
  3. Turn off heat to your pan of fruit and stir in peanut butter and honey to melt and mix.
  4. Stir in cinnamon, oats and coconut.
  5. Spoon evenly into the greased square pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden on top.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.  Then cut them up and enjoy!

NOTE:

Since writing this post on Saturday and before I got to publish it today, I had a scan done which showed I do not have gallstones! Yaaaay!  Pity I lost my niche as a gallbladder diet blogger though :p

Photographic evidence that it was in fact Mr. Piggy Spatula who ate the missing flapjack and not me...I have way too much time on my hands in the summer.

Photographic evidence that it was in fact Mr. Piggy Spatula who ate the missing flapjack and not me…I have way too much time on my hands in the summer.

A Versatile Soup

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So in the scorching Irish sun (I know ‘scorching Irish sun’ sounds like an oxymoron), I am eating soup.  This soup is fruity, sweet, refreshing and, as I discovered today, it’s also quite nice chilled.  Not only can it be served hot or cold, it goes well with a range of spices and flavours; so, feel free to experiment with this simple, healthy and versatile soup.

Looks like a little swimming pool of sunshine!

Looks like a little swimming pool of sunshine!

Apple and Sweet Potato Soup (makes about 4-5 bowls)

Soup Base:

  • 3 small apples
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (approx 1kg/ just over 2 lbs)
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional flavours:

  • Chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp chilli powder and 3 leaves chopped basil plus more to top
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, Pinch of nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 sage leaves and 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sprigs rosemary and juice of half a lemon

Optional toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Pan fried pancetta or crisp smoked bacon.
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pumpkin/ sunflower seeds

METHOD:

  1. First, prep your vegetables.  Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into similar sized cubes (about 3/4 inch thick).  Peel, core and chop the apples, making them into cubes about a quarter of the size of their sweet potato equivalents.  Chop the celery in 1/2 inch slices.
  2. On a low heat, fry butter in a large saucepan.  Add the apples and celery. Stirring occasionally, fry for about 4 minutes, or until the apples are beginning to turn golden.
  3. Add whatever spices/ herbs you’ve chosen (any of the above  combinations are tasty), and fry for another minute or so.  The apples don’t have to be completely stewed at this stage, just softened.
  4. Add sweet potatoes and stir into the butter, apple mixture.
  5. Add enough water to cover the contents of the saucepan (about 6 cups).
  6. Bring to the boil and then then gently boil for about 20 mins on a medium heat or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Leave to cool and blend.
  9. Reheat if you want it warm, or chill in the fridge for cold.  Don’t forget to add toppings!

Tip:  For extra flavour, roast the sweet potatoes in the oven with some butter or olive oil first (At 190 degrees Celsius for about 20 mins or until fork tender), and reduce boiling time to 2 mins.

Enjoy!

Jenna x

Awkward aardvarks and blueberry muffins

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So I’m brushing the awkward aardvark, along with the rather obvious elephant in the room, under the carpet i.e., I am not addressing the fact that it’s been about 9 months since I last blogged.  People conceive and give birth in that time (I didn’t!); instead I let a humble honeymoon blog die.  blueberry muffins

Anyway, I’m back and I feel hideous for keeping these blueberry muffins from the world for so long!  Low in saturated fats, these muffins are delectable without the bitter aftertaste of guilt.  No love handles exploding over the waistband of your jeans with these babies!   Here’s the recipe….

Blueberry and white chocolate muffins (makes about 12 muffins) adapted from joyofbaking.com

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp low fat (or full fat) natural yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh (if using frozen do not thaw as this will make your muffins turn blue and look like a smurf vomited on them)
  • 160g white chocolate chunks

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease, or line with cases, a 12 cup cupcake tray.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all wet ingredients together with a whisk.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the blueberries and white chocolate to the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a spatula, until just combined.  If you stir too much, this will make your muffins denser and flatter. When the gluten in your flour is mixed with a liquid, it becomes more developed, and hence turns your batter tough.
  6. Divide into cupcake tray, filling each hole to the top.
  7. Bake for 15-20 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean (unless the toothpick has stabbed a chocolate chip or a blueberry).  Muffins should be golden on top, and springy to touch when done.

Enjoy! x

P.S. blueberries are tasting great in Ireland right now!

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