Wednesday 31 January 2018

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

One thing that I miss from home that I really, really used to love is the Robin Hood Oatmeal Muffin Mix.  It was something which I always bought and my family enjoyed.  We often added chocolate chips to it or raisins, and they went down a real treat!  They were family favourites.

I have never quite been able to replicate the flavour of those muffins, and I have really tried! 

This recipe I am showing you today is adapted from one which I found in this little book, Muffinss, by Susan Reimer.  I did add some grated nutmeg to the mix because I was thinking that  might be the elusive flavour that I keep missing  . . .

They still don't taste quite the same, although . . .  in truth they are very VERY good, nonetheless! 

Today I used a mix of both milk and semi sweet chocolate chips.  If you are not fond of chocolate chips you could use chopped dates, or sultanas, dried apricots or even currants.

Whatever you choose, I think you are in for a real breakfast treat!

*Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins*
Makes 12 medium muffins
A delicious muffin which is filled with oats and chocolate chips.  You can use the equivalent in dried fruit if you would rather not use chocolate chips.  I always add extra chocolate chips to the top after I spoon them into the pan (prior to baking), but that is a personal preference. 

60g rolled oats (3/4 cup)
260ml milk (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
225g plain flour (1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS)
3 tsp baking power
pinch salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
85g chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling on top if desired (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg, lightly beaten with a fork
100g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)
1 tsp vanilla extract
90ml vegetable oil (1/3 cup)

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Line a 12 cup medium muffin tin with paper liners, or butter very well.  Set aside.

Measure the oats into a bowl and add the milk.  Set aside while you put together the remaining ingredients.  Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Add the beaten egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla to the oat mixture.  Add all at once to the dry mixture and stir to just combine, so no dry bits of flour are left.  Don't overcombine.  Divide between the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes, until well risen and the tops feel quite firm.  They should also be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre of one should come out clean. (There might be melted chocolate on it however!)  Tip out onto a wire rack to cool.

These would also make great lunch box additions for the kiddles, or even to bring to work for coffee break.  They would also be great served afterschool with glasses of cold milk.  Now my taste buds are tingling!  Bon Appetit! 

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Creamy Turkey & Rice

This recipe I am showing you here today is a prime example of how we eat here in Casa de Rayner, most of the time.  Its fast.  Its easy and . . .  most importantly . . .  its delicious!

I like to think its also fairly economical in that it uses things I generally have in my freezer and storecupboard, like rice, milk, chicken stock, frozen vegetables, onions and I confess  . . .  frozen mushrooms.  I always keep frozen sliced mushrooms in my freezer.  They are perfect for dishes like this where appearance doesn't really matter that much.

I picked up some packs of fresh cubed turkey breast the other day.  One of them was perfect for this dish.  The other was frozen, so now I have some cubed turkey breast for the future when I want to make something quick and easy for another meal.

You could of course use cubed chicken breast meat, or even leftover cooked turkey or chicken from the Sunday roast!

All are put together in a simple way and in one pot, making it an easy put together not to mention an easy clean up!

Yes, it all gets cooked in the one pan . . . first the turkey . . .  then the onions, mushrooms and garlic . . .

Some flour and seasonings go next, and then you add some chicken stock and milk . . . bring it to the boil, where it thickens a bit  . . . nice and creamy  . . .

And then finally the rice.  Covered, it cooks to perfection over very low heat in about 15 minutes or so.  A bit of salad on the side, maybe a crusty bun if you are so inclined and dinner is served!

*Creamy Turkey & Rice*
serves 4

This is simple to make and quite delicious.  Its cooked all in one pot, which makes for an easy clean up. I use long grain rice for this. You can also use leftover cooked turkey for this instead of fresh, or leftover chicken. 

2 TBS butter
1 pound raw turkey breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
(alternately use 2 cups cooked poultry, diced)
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
75g mushrooms, sliced
35g plain flour (1/4 cup)
3/4 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
480ml chicken stock (2 cups)
240ml milk (1 cup)
210g raw long grain rice (1 cup)
150g each frozen peas and frozen corn niblets, thawed (1 cup each)

Melt the butter in dutch oven (with a lid). (I use my medium La Crueset pan.)  Add the turkey and cook, stirring until it is no longer pink.  Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until they begin to soften.  Stir in the flour, seasoning salt, black pepper, and thyme.  Cook, stirring, for a further minute.  Slowly stir in the chicken stock and then the milk.  Add the rice and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a very low heat, cover and simmer  for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.  Stir frequently to prevent the rice from catching on the bottom of the pan. Because I use gas, I always have my pan on a heat diffuser, which helps to keep the temperature down.  Stir in the frozen vegetables, recover and take off heat.  Let stand for a few minutes to  heat through.  Serve immediately.

Quick, simple and delicious.  You really can't ask for much more than that! Bon Appetit!

Monday 29 January 2018

Hot Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwiches

This is the kind of weeknight supper that will have both you and your family jumping up and shouting for joy!  The family because its delicious and you because it is quick, easy and not a lot of faff involved!

Soft white buns . . .  spread with a horseradish mayo, topped with tender juicy BBQ Beef, and then slathered in a delicious cheese sauce . . .  mmmm . . .  what's not to like about that!

When you  first look at the list of ingredients, you might be tempted to think its far too much trouble to put it all together, but each element is very simple and doable, and once you get them all done and in place, the rest is a doddle!

The horseradish mayo is simply some mayo whisked together with horseradish sauce, this gets spread on the bottom bun . . .

The BBQ beef as well is really quick and simple.  Just whisk the sauce ingredients together in a pan, bring to the boil, then add the beef and reduce the heat until the beef is heated through.  Buy the thinnest sliced roast beef that you can buy!  At the deli-counter if possible!

The cheese sauce is also very simple . . .  as simple as whisking together some grated cheese, corn flour (cornstarch) and evaporated milk and heating it up in the microwave until the cheese is melted and its all blended together and smooth. Yum yum!!

*Hot Roast Beef & Cheese Sandwiches*
Makes 4
Quick, easy and delicious!  

For the horseradish sauce:
1 1/2 tsp creamed horseradish
55g mayonnaise (1/4 cup)
For the beef:
225g thinly sliced deli roast beef (1/2 pound)
60g tomato ketchup (1/4 cup)
60ml water (1/4 cup)
2 tsp soft light brown sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp each dry mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt, paprika & pepper flavour
splash hot sauce
For the cheese sauce:
125g strong cheddar cheese, grated (I used a mix of white and orange for colour) (1 cup)
2 tsp corn flour (corn starch)
120ml evaporated milk (Not sweetened condensed) (1/2 cup)
You will also need 4 soft burger buns

First make the horseradish sauce. Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.  For the cheese sauce, mix the cheese and cornflour together in a bowl. Stir in the evaporated milk.  Heat in the microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture comes together and is smooth.  Keep warm. (If you think it is too thick, you may whisk in a bit more milk and reheat.)

Whisk the tomato ketchup, water, brown sugar, vinegar, all seasonings and hot sauce together in a pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer.  Add the roast beef and heat through gently until heated thoroughly. 

While the meat is heating, split your buns, wrap in foil and warm in a hot oven for about 8 minutes. 

To serve spread the bottom of each bun with a portion of the horseradish mayo.  Top with a portion of the BBQ Beef, and finally the cheese sauce.  Place the top of the bun on top and serve immediately. 

We had some oven chips on the side with this, but coleslaw would be great or a salad.  This is a real winning sandwich.  Hearty and delicious!  Bon Appetit! 

Sunday 28 January 2018

Salted Caramel Drizzle Loaf

I have a fabulous recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Loaf.  You just bang everything into the food processor and blitz it together, scrape it into a pan and bake.  I went to make it yesterday, got everything into the food processor and went to add the lemon curd which is uses and guess what . . .  NO lemon curd in the house.  Oh me oh my!  What to do, what to do . . .

I had recently picked up a jar of Bon Maman Salted Caramel Spread and after a bit of soul searching I decided that it was of somewhat the same consistency as lemon curd and I would use that instead!  The thought actually sounded quite delicious.

And so I went with it, and threw it into the food processor, scraped the batter into my loaf tin, banged it into the oven and then crossed my fingers.

Necessity is often the mother of invention.  It smelled gorgeous when it was baking.  It did take a bit longer than the lemon one to bake, but not a problem really . . .

The Lemon one does have a lemon drizzle topping on top, so while the cake was baking I put my thinking cap back on . . . .

I wanted a drizzle topping that would soak a bit into the cake, with flavours that wouldn't jar too much with the salted caramel . . .

I decided to go with coffee . . .  and so I mixed together a bit of hot coffee, some coffee liqueur, and granulated sugar . . . . it tasted pretty good.  You could use vanilla if you didn't want to use the liqueur.

I brushed this grainy syrup onto the cake as soon as I took it from the oven, and kept spooning it on a little bit at a time, until I had used it all up and it had soaked into the surface of the cake.  It also smelled heavenly!  The end result was incredibly edibly tasty indeed!

*Salted Caramel Drizzle Loaf*
Makes one loaf

I think this is one of the easiest and tastiest cakes in the world to make! You just bang everything into the food processor and blitz it for two minutes and then pour it into your pan. 45 minutes you have a tasty cake to enjoy!  

140g self raising flour (1 cup)
125g softened butter (1/2 cup)
115g  white sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
2 heaping dessertspoons of salted caramel spread
2 large free range eggs
1 1/2 TBS milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Drizzle Topping:
60ml hot strong coffee (1/4 cup)
45g granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
1 tsp coffee liqueur (I used Patron XO Cafe)
(Alternately use vanilla)

 Pre-heat the oven to 175*C/about 340*F/gas mark 3. Lightly butter a loaf tin and line it with parchment paper. Butter the paper and set it aside.

Put all the cake ingredients into the food processor and blitz for 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until well risen, nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven. Leave in the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.Mix the drizzle topping ingredients together, stirring to blend well. Drizzle over top of the still very warm cake, and let set for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely. (I make sure that I leave a bit of overhang with the parchment paper when I put it into the pan so that I can use it like handles and just lift the cake out when done!)

Cut into slices to serve. 

Some might bemoan the fact that they didn't have any lemon curd in the cupboard, and I will be rectifying that shortly, but in the mean time I am very grateful for the opportunity my lack thereof provided for me to discover something quite, quite tasty!  I think you will be grateful also.  You simply must bake this!  Bon Appetit!

Saturday 27 January 2018

Crisp Almond Horns (Gluten Free)

I love almonds.   I also love macamia, cashews and pistachios, oh and pecans and walnuts. Ohh, and honey roasted peanuts! Well . . .  I guess I just love all nuts, but almonds are at the top of the list!

I saw a recipe for Almond Horns on Pinterest and had to check it out.  They looked fabulously tasty and chock full of almonds.  The recipe was on Kitchen Bowl.

They looked incredibly tasty and easy to make.  Based on a German Cookie called Mandelhörnchen, Almond Horns are filled with almonds and naturally gluten free.

The dough for the cookies is composed of almond paste/marzipan, ground almonds (almond meal), almond essence, sugar and egg white.

Beaten together these make a somewhat sticky dough, that you roll into logs and then into even more almonds.  Shaped into crescents, they are then baked until golden brown.

The end result is a moreish cookie, golden and crisp on the edges and yet deliciously chewy centred!

The dough was very sticky and difficult to shape.  Upon researching I discovered several other recipes which required refrigerating it prior to shaping, so I highly recommend doing that.

Mine still turned out to be beautiful biscuits, if somewhat flatter than some of the ones I have seen.  I also saw some which were dipped into chocolate.  

I think I prefer them this way, but if you want to dip the ends of your horns into melted chocolate feel free!  I can promise you that they are incredibly moreish either way!

*Almond Horns*
Makes 16

Crisp on the outside and chewy middled, chock full of almond flavor cookies that are easy to make and gluten free.  These are gorgeous. 

1/2 pound Almond paste (8 ounces)
45g finely ground almonds (1/2 cup almond meal)
95g sugar (1/2 cup)
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
255g flaked almonds (1 1/2 cups)
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.  Set aside. 

Crumble the almond paste into a bowl.  Add the sugar, egg white, ground almonds and almond extract.  Using a hand mixture beat until well combined. The mixture will be fairly sticky.  

Spread the flaked almonds in a shallow dish or plate.  Drop 1 1/2 TBS of the dough into the dish of flaked almonds and shape into a rough log rolling the mixture in the nuts. 

Place onto the baking sheet.  Repeat until the almond dough is all used up, leaving a fair space for spreading in between the shapes.  Try to give them a curved shape.  

Bake in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes until light golden brown.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 25 minutes.  Dust with the Icing sugar.

So there you have it . . .  crispy edged, chewy middled, chock full of nuts and not at all uncomfortable with a hot drink!  Bon weekend!