Banana and Coconut Muffins

I had one of those days. You know the kind of days that you loose everything goes wrong. It all started with me skipping my dinner the night before, I then woke up in the middle of the night starving so at 2 am I went to and had a mini feast. I then was too full to sleep so I lay in bed for ages.  After much tossing and turning I decided to open the window. This made set off the house alarm waking the whole family and causing a lot of shouting generally in my direction. I then woke up with a slight sinus infection which meant I couldn’t put my contacts in so I spent the whole day going around blind, as I hate my glasses. None of  my formulas  would work out in physics class and I had to sit alone in English at the top of the class.  My head heart the whole day and  piano after school I just couldn’t concentrate. The loud banging of the notes only made my head hurt even more. At home I couldn’t wrap my head around Pascals Triangle  for maths homework. After 12 attempts I finally finished my physics question. I popped two Panadol and continued on. I began quoting Dido “wondering why got out of bed at all”. I noticed the black banana in the fruit bowl and my spirit began to perk up, coconut and banana muffins I thought. What I love about these is the mixture tastes just as good raw plus bananas contain tryptophan that the body converts into serotonin. Bananas can make you relax, feel happier and improve your mood and the potassium improves brain power and makes you more alert which I am going to need to be in class if I want to master Pascals Triangle.

Banana and Coconut Muffins adapted from Rachel Allens fruity muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml of milk
  • 100ml of natural yogurt
  • 75ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 225g of plain flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 100g of wholemeal flour
  • 70g of brown sugar
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 50g of dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tray with 12 cases.  Mix all the wet ingredients together including the banana. In another bowl sift the plain flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the wholemeal flour, coconut and sugar. Fold into the wet ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. Divide the  mixture between the muffin cases. Cook for 20-25 minutes. The tops should spring back gently when cooked. Allow to stand in the tin for 102 minutes than transfer to a wire tray to cool. 

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Raspberry and Pine Nut Muffins

As I have already told you Mammy has instilled in me the importance of being a good host. She also has taught us that it’s not enough to be a good host but also a good guest. “Don’t leave wet towels on the floor”,  she would warn us before we stayed in anybody else’s house. “Offer to help around the house” “Be polite and don’t fight with each other” she would warn my sisters and I . Whenever we were packed off to stay with Aunties or friends our behavior was impeccable. We obeyed Mammy’s rules as we knew the significance of being a good guest. One other rule that Mammy had was bring something to the hostess. I have learned that the best sort of gifts for this occasion are the edible ones and brownie points if its is homemade and if it is homemade and contains a combination of butter and sugar, well then your just sucking up. Recently I spent two nights at a friends house while my family went to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kerry. I obeyed all of Mammy’s guest rules, no towels were left on floors and I brought a homemade loaf of bread and these yummy raspberry pine nut muffins (I replaced the butter with oil so I am not quiet sucking up).

Rasberry and Pine Nut Muffins adapted from the BBC Good Food 
100ml of canola oil
25g lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp milk
400g self-raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
284ml carton buttermilk
225g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C

Line a 12 whole muffin tin with muffin cases. Mix the flour, toasted pine nuts, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the buttermilk and oil. Stir this into the flour mixture until almost combined – it will need only a few stirs and the mix will feel light and airy. Tip in the raspberries, give a few more stirs to finish the mixing, but don’t overbeat or the mix will toughen. Spoon the mix into the muffin tins using an ice cream scoop – they will be very full.bake for about 25 mins until risen and golden. Let them cool in the tin a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack best eaten on the day buat within 2 days.

I dream of scones

Okay I have a problem… last night I had my third dream this month that included baked goods. The first was about chocolate cake, the last two have been about scones. Yes I have dreams about round sweetened biscuit like cakes. In these dreams the scones are  lightest, yet flakiest most perfect scone I have ever eaten and I am against the clock to find the recipe for them. Real thriller material.  So while most girls my age dream of this…..

I dream of this….

So this morning I decided, after I went for a run (keeping to my To Do List), I needed to make scones. Real scones, not the american biscuit like scones that are nice but taste more like cookies than scones. These are genuine round fluffy scones. Made with white flour, butter, eggs, buttermilk and sugar. They must be round, not triangle or square shaped, they can not include oats or any wholemeal flour or they will loose their fluffiness and despite what some recipes think they must contain eggs. This combination makes them buttery but not short, fluffy but not spongey, light yet crumbly – In other words heaven in a bite

So here it is my Perfect real scone

makes 15 scones

450g of self raising flour

30g of sugar

85 of softened butter

1/2 tsp of baking powder

220ml of butter milk

1 egg beaten

150g of mixed berries ( I use frozen)

egg and milk to glaze

Preheat oven to 185C. Sift the flour, baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then using your finger tips lift up the crumb like mixture a few times to incorporate air. Make a well in the center and pour in the  egg and half the milk. Using a fork mix the mixture. Now add in the berries and mix.

Add in the rest of the milk, you want a moist yet dry dough so you might not need it all. Then quickly work the dough into a ball. Do not over work or knead the dough. Flatten out on a floured surface and flatten to about 3cm thick. Using a 6cm round cookie cutter cut out roughly 15 scones. Place on a floured tray and brush with glaze cook for 15-20 minutes. Until they are lightly golden and well risen.

variations: There is limitless ways to serve these here are some suggestions

  • plain
  • add 60g of coconut with the flour
  • change the berries for raisins, currants or other dried fruit
  • add lemon and orange rind with the flour
  • put almond essence in with the milk and put slices of pear on top before cooking
  • chocolate chips

The list is endless but the result is usually delicious

Cinnamon Scone Swirls and a little inspirations


Sometimes recipe inspiration comes to me at the most random times. I spend a lot of time thinking about food and different flavours. Sometimes ideas come to when I am running as I am trying to preocupy my mind from the 9km ahead of me or sometimes as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep an idea juts comes to me like an epiphany and I have to write it down there and then otherwise I will have forgotten it by morning. Other times, other recipes inspire me and I love looking at and examining new recipes seeing how I can adapt them to suite my taste. I also get ideas from movies and books which I scrutinize every meal and piece of food eaten. When I come up with a new idea a get giddy and restless until I try it. I then watch with eager eyes as my family, usually Sister number one, eat it. No sooner have they got it in their mouth do I badger them with questions ” what do you think of it honestly?” ” Is it too sweet/sour/hard/soft ect.?” Usually they are very patient and answer truthfully but sometimes they  get a little angry at my eagerness and a huge fight errupts. The idea for these cinnamin scone swirls had been in my head for a while. They were slightly inspired by Joy the Bakers biscuit cinnamin rolls   and these cinnamon roll scones I found on a new blog Naturally Ella. The flavour idea for these scones first came to me when I was eating the Hunger Games inspiered Fruit and Nut Bread. So inspiration can come to all of us at funny times but remember to stay opened minded “You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany”-Unknown source

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

makes 6

Dough

100g of unbleached all purpose flour
100g of whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons natural sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
15g butter softened
1 egg yolk
3/8 cup buttermilk (or natural yogurt thinned with a little milk or water)

Filling

1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

1tbsp of maple syrup

1tbsp of olive oil

small handfull of raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 190C.  Line a muffin tin with buncases. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. In a seperate bowl mix the milk and egg yolk. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well to form a dough. Knead it gently for a few seconds then put out on lightly floured surface. Roll out to about 2.5cm thick (try make it sort of rectangly it’s easier to roll up). Combine all of the filling ingredients and mix. Using a brush brush the cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough and evenly sprinkle ont the raisins. Roll up tightly like a swiss roll. Then squeeze the roll to ensure it is tight roll it up and down a few times. Cut it into 6 even, smaller rolls. Place upright in the bunc cases. Brush with the remaining egg white or milk and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cook for about 30 minutes until the tops are nicly browned and so is the bottems.  Leave to cool slightly but serve warm.

These are also nice sprinkled with a royal icing made from 30g of icing sugar and 1-2 tsp of water.

Carrot Cupcakes fit for the Easter Bunny

My third post in three days I am on a roll. Easter is just sort of creping up on me and  I really wanted to Share these Carrot Cupcakes before Sunday. When I was younger I always felt it unfair that nobody left out treats for the Easter Bunny, Santa got hundreds of Cookies when he was doing his rounds but the poor Easter Bunny (E.B) had to go house to house on an empty stomach. I decided, one Easter, to make something too give to the E.B. I didn’t take me long to decide upon Carrot Cake as bunnies do love carrots. I also loved, and still do, making Carrot Cake as the raw mixture tastes almost as good as the baked, so licking bowls clean was always a treat.  The cream cheese frosting is an essential on Carrot Cake according to some and I will admit it is tasty but for a little bit healthier cupcake you can omit it.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

makes about 15 cupcakes 12 muffins or one loaf cake

120g of self raising flour

80g of whole wheat flour

2 eggs

200ml of Olive oil or Sunflower or Canola

110g of caster Sugar

.5 tsp of salt

200g of grated Carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

80g of cream cheese

30g of soft butter

120g of icing sugar

Topping

30 mini eggs

50g of dessicated coconut

1-2 tsp of green food colouring

for the cupcakes

Line about 15 cupcake holes with cases. Preheat the oven to 160C Beat the Sugar and oil together until thick and pale. Stir in the eggs one at a time then mix in the sugar.  Sift in the self raising flour and mix in the whole wheat flour n and salt.  Mix in the Carrots until they are well combined in the batter. Divide the mixture between the Cupcake cases with an ice-cream scoop. You could also just put all the batter in a lined 2lb loaf tin. Cook the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes until golden and spongey to touch the muffins will take 25-30. The loaf will take longer between 50 minutes and an hour. Test with a wooden skewer if the skewer comes out clean it is cooked.

Leave to cool completely before icing. Mix the coconut and green food colouring together. Continue mixing until all the coconut is green.

To make the icing mix all the ingredients together . Ice each cupcake generously with the icing.  Place a teaspoon of coconut on top of each cake. Using your finger make a well in each mound of coconut to get a nest shape. Place to eggs in the the well.

Splendiferous Chocolate Muffins

So I finally got a job. At the Garden Center I was doing work experience in. Not so glamorous but a job’s a job well the pay is €6.06 an hour and the bus journey costs me €4 so I am not really making much bu you can’t put a price on the experience can you? I have to admit that I was a little excited the first day to actually get to work with a REAL cash register and not one of the fisher price ones from my younger days. I get to be the person on the other side of the till and ask those questions that all till staff ask. We are given a five steps guideline to treating a customer they are

  1. Greet Customer with appropriate greeting for time of day
  2. Thank them for waiting (don’t apologize for the queue be positive at all times)
  3. Ask them for a reward card if not do they want a reward card
  4. Say something Pleasant ( what a lovely day or complement there baby/purchase)
  5. Tell them the total price and take payment method then say goodbye

Us tillers we have marketing down to a tee. I am being extra pleasant as I want to keep my job to buy a new pair of heels I have my eyes on a few pairs I am not sure why I buy heels at all as instead of making me look sleek and sexy like they should they make me look like a fool as I can’t walk never mind dance in them and they give you the worst blisters. Despite the pain there is something about the stiletto that I can’t resist I think the love of shoes is something in the genes of all girls. It’s in our DNA we are born with the irrational notion to spend lots of money and lovely shoes.

Another weakness that women tend to have is a love for all things chocolate. If you are like the hundreds of women who admit to this you must try these Chocolaty Muffins. And if you are not then you still must try the muffins as the smell will almost defiantly convert you. They are in fact Splendiferous

Splendiferous Chocolate Muffins

I have spent years looking for a rich coloured chocolate muffin all previous attempts have turned out a lightish brown colour. I finally did from Lilly Higgins blog stuff I Make Bake and Love/ who found it from a Dan Leopard recipe from the Guardian website  These are dark and luscious. The method is unusual first you make a custardy substance then add the flour. It also calls for no milk

I adapted the recipe to what I could find in my Kitchen

50g cornflour
3 level tbsp cocoa
80g of caster sugar
225ml cold water
75g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark chocolate, broken small
75ml olive oil
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2½ tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180C

First make the custard: put the cornflour, cocoa, 80g of caster sugar and water into a saucepan and whisk together over a medium heat until boiling, very thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, beat in the butter and chocolate until melted and absorbed, then add the oil,  and one of the eggs, and beat again until combined. Add the remaining egg and the caster sugar, and beat again until smooth and thick.

Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir together, then sift directly on to the custard and beat through until combined. Spoon into a dozen paper muffin cases, using a  sitting in the pockets of a muffin tray,; h bake for 25 minutes.

Butternut squash Muffins

In the past few years  I have seen cakes made from all sorts of vegetables – beetroot, parsnip, courgette etc. For some reason we find it perfectly acceptable to have carrot cake but when it comes to any other vegetable we shudder. I came across a recipe from Jamie Oliver for butternut squash muffins and with an old butternut squash at the back of the fridge I decided to give it a try.  Butternut squash, which is technically a fruit since it contains seeds, (so is a tomato, cucumber and courgette) outshines all other squashes when it comes to health benefits. It is low and calories  has no fat, sodium or cholesterol which makes it a perfect weight burning vegetable (or fruit). As well as aiding weight loss it also has high amounts of Vitamin A (good for your eyes) which gives it its vivid orange colour.  It is high in Fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. You will also get plenty of vitamins when you eat butternut squash including Calcium, manganese and potassium. If its health benefits haven’t got you going to the shop to stock up on it, it also tastes really good roasted in a little oil. These muffins were tasty but I have to say I still prefer carrot cake. The butternut squash is a lot sweeter so I reduced the amount of sugar in the muffins still its a good recipe to use up butternut squash


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Butternut Squash Muffins

adapted from Jamie Oliver – Jamie at Home

makes about 12 large muffins

400g of butternut squash grated = one small squash (whizzed up food processor is easiest, no need to peel)

4 eggs

200g of plain flour

100g of wholemeal flour

2 tsp of baking powder

180g of light brown sugar

150 ml of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cases. Mix together the eggs and sugar. Add the grated butternut squash  then sift in the flour and baking powder. Finally mix in the oil. Using an ice cream scoop. Put a large scoop of mixture in each muffin case. Cook for 30 minutes.

Variations : They could be iced for a more luxurious muffins Jamie Oliver ices them with cream cheese icing but I think a marshmallow Italian meringue frosting might also go well with it for those who have a sweet tooth. For a healthier topping sprinkle granola or seeds on top before cooking

Nuts, raisins or seeds could be added after the oil

Sweet Potato could replace the squash

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones

Today I started my second work experience placement today unlike last term, in Chapter One http://www.chapteronerestaurant.com/, this term is less exciting. It’s in a garden centre. To be fair its one of those “Celtic Tiger” gold five star garden centres that sells everything from jewellery to beds.How did I end up in a garden centre you might ask, well to be honest I’m not really sure. I applied to work in the cafe in the Garden Centre went for an interview and ended up being told I would work in the book section. I know nothing about gardening. All day people were coming up to me looking for plants or gardening accessories I had never heard of. One woman was looking for a Money plant??. Unknown to myself I found it and the women thanked and complemented me for my excellent knowledge of plants. The worst part of the day was as I was leaving the Garden Centre to go home I saw the bus drive right past me I tried, but failed, to chase after it. I then had to wait 40 minutes in the rain for the next bus. I arrived home starving and decided to make  scones. Though in previous posts I have praised the cookie I find I am more of a scone girl. I don’t mean the traditional English afternoon tea scones, thought I do like them, I mean the new modern “healthy” scones created by the Americans. This scones were first introduced to us this side of the atlantic as dry sandy scones by starbucks, but we saw the potential and improved them.  They are more like a mix of both the the English scone and American muffin with a little  bit of cookie thrown in. They come in all shapes and sizes (triangle, round, square etc.) and contain a variety of delicious health boosting super food from oats to goji berries. This particular recipe contains whole wheat (which I just found out is two words as is health boosting and super food) and one of my favourite ingredients ……. RASPBERRIES. This recipe was inspired by the famous wholewheat ricotta scones from Smitten Kitchen.but I adapted the recipe to suit my likings and my fridge. I make to adaptions of the recipe to see which I preferred best. After much nibbling and crumbling form an excellent tasting panel consisting of Mammy, Daddy and Sister number one  we decided on the winning scone. These scones don’t rise that much when cooking so resemble a fat cookie but they taste amazing

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones
Makes 7 good sized scones


140g of wholewheat flour
135g of plain flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
65g of caster sugar
85g of softened butter
1/2 cup of natural yogurt
1 egg
half a cup of milk
1 cup of raspberries ( I used frozen)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter. Add the raspberries and crush them up a little with the wooden spoon. Be gentle thought you don’t want a puree. Then add the wet ingredients and combine well. When the mixture is almost all combined use your hands to bring it all together. The mixture should be a little wetter than a typical scone which makes it harder to work with but the result is delightfully moist. Flatten on a floured surface to a little over 1 inch tall. Stamp out into about 6-7 rounds and place on floured baking try. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until they are lightly golden all over and dry to touch on the bottom.