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Crunchy Topped Maple Walnut Oatmeal Muffins

 Crunchy Topped Maple Walnut Oatmeal Muffins 

The Great British Bake Off started again this week. Personally, I don't think it is as good since it moved to Channel 4.  I miss Mary Berry, I really do.  I am not a huge fan of Channel 4.  It panders to the younger population, with a lot of reality, shock and garbage shows.  I have noticed each year that the contestants on Bake Off are getting younger and younger.  This year there is only one who appears to be slightly older than 40, with most appearing still wet behind their ears.  I'm not sure I like it.  I prefer the old GBBO for sure.

 Whenever I bake oatmeal muffins I always think of my middle son Doug, and the trips we used to take into Toronto to spend the day at my ex SIL's . They lived in a lovely house just off Avenue Road, in a somewhat Jewish area of the city.

My BIL would bring home a couple of big bags of fresh bagels from the Jewish bakery, and little paper sacks of fresh rugelach . . .  my SIL would bake Oatmeal Muffins with plenty of chocolate chips added.  She used the Quaker Oatmeal Muffin Mix, which is what we all used back then.  It was perfect, or at least we thought so.  We would spend half the day feasting on all of this and just enjoying each other's company.

Our wee Doug loved the oatmeal muffins especially and we had some lovely photos of him eating them, with his head full of Shirley Temple curls and chocolate all over his face.  He was only about 2 or 3 at the time.  He will be 38 in November . . .  so a lot of time has passed since then.

Try as I might I have never been able to bake a homemade oatmeal muffin that tastes like the Quaker Oatmeal Muffin Mix did.  Or maybe it is just that things always taste better in our memories . . . 

Nothing can ever quite come up to our taste memories . . .  I don't think.  They are coloured with rose coloured glasses and have more to do with the people we share them with than they actually do with the food we were eating, if that makes sense.  Love is a specific flavour that is very difficult to replicate.

These are very good oatmeal muffins.  Flavoured with Maple syrup and brown sugar, with just a hint of cinnamon . . .

Stogged with toasted walnuts . . .  I love to toast all my nuts before baking with them.  They just taste nuttier, but perhaps that is just in my imagination, I don't know  . . .

A hefty sprinkling of demerara sugar on the tops prior to baking gives them lovely crunchy tops, that we quite like  . . .

Again, they rise beautifully.  I find that if I almost fill my muffin cups then the batter seems to have nowhere to go but up.  Perhaps that is my secret. I don't know.  I only know my muffins always rise beautifully.

They have a lovely light texture . . .  a perfect muffin texture . . .  full of lovely little holes  . . .

My younger self would have enjoyed these, eaten hot and  liberally spread with butter . . .

My older self doesn't even dare think about such a thing . . .

Yield: 12

Crunchy Topped Maple Walnut Oatmeal Muffins

A delicious muffin filled with toasted walnuts, oats and maple syrup, with a crunchy demerara topping.  What's not to fall in love with!


  • 160g old fashioned rolled oats (2 cups)
  • 240 ml whole milk (1 cup)
  • 120ml pure maple syrup (1/2 cup)
  • 80ml sunflower oil (1/3 cup)
  • 145g soft light brown sugar (2/3 cup packed)
  • 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 115g chopped toasted walnuts (1 cup)
  • demerara sugar to sprinkle on top (turbinado)


How to cook Crunchy Topped Maple Walnut Oatmeal Muffins

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 4.  Line a 12 cup medium muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Measure the oats into a bowl.  Add the maple syrup, milk, oil and beaten eggs.  Mix together well and then stir in the eggs to combine well.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and stir together just to combine. It is okay if there are lumps.  Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it equally.  They will be about 7/8 full.  That's okay! Sprinkle about 1 tsp of demerara sugar on top of each.
  5. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until well risen and the tops spring back when lightly touched.  Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Store in an airtight container.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Just look at that lovely, crunchy top.  These are perfect tucked into lunch boxes for our back-to-school scholars or enjoyed with a hot cuppa for elevenses or tea break.  These are just perfect full stop! 

Marie Rayner
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Pan Seared Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi, also known as the Dorado or Dolphin fish is a beautiful fish that is not only sustainable but very easy to cook.  It has a firm white flesh that is fairly mild in flavour.  This makes it quite adaptable, hearty enough to grill and yet firm enough to sear, glaze, fry, etc.  making it very versatile. Don't confuse it with the common Dolphin.  This is not Flipper.  Don't worry. Far from being even closely related to its namesake Mahi Mahi is highly sustainable, responsibly fished and harvested due to strong regulations.  They spawn and grow rapidly, which helps to keep their population stable. 

The people at Seafresh recently sent me some to try. I was quite excited at the opportunity to try a new fish I had never tried before!  I decided to give it a somewhat simple treatment.  I created a sweet and savoury rub to coat it with and then simply pan seared it  until it was nicely blackened on the outside, but perfectly cooked on the inside.

I had to do some research on the fish first so that I knew how to cook it properly.  I learnt a lot about it and about what it might taste like. Having never tasted it before I was flying in the dark here! 

It is a carnivorous fish which gathers in schools which mostly eat forage fish.   The word Mahi (Hawaiian) means strong and these fish are strong and fast swimmers.  

They are brightly coloured and mostly found in Pacific waters, although they can also be found in the Atlantic.

They are considered to be highly nutritious and rich in Iron and low-fat protein. Low in sodium and rich in Omega-3, which not only are good for your heart but also help to combat cancer. 

It is also a great source of essential minerals and important B vitamins, so altogether it can be considered a fairly healthy fish to eat.  It is however high in cholesterol so if you are watching yours, you will still want to consume it in moderation.

I was told that it had a fairly mild flavour  . . .  not a "strong fishy" flavour.  I am not fond of overly fishy flavoured fish.  I can just about tolerate Salmon.  

So what did it taste like?  

It was definitely not benign in flavour like cod, it was probably more like Halibut, so not unpleasant at all.

I was quite surprised that the flesh turned out as white as it did when cooked.  It was quite darkish raw so I expected it to cook dark, but it was not dark in the least!

Other than that searing rub I put onto it  . . .  the interior flesh was cream-coloured when cooked . . .

It had a very firm texture, which I think would make it excellent for using in Fish Tacos, or for grilling on the BBQ.

I am thinking it would also be lovely stir fried . . .

I had made a lime and honey dressed coleslaw to go with it, almost like a pickle, except fresher . . .

It went very well.  I would highly recommend.  I can't wait to try it again one day! 

Yield: 4

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi rubbed with a delicous blend of savoury and sweet spice and then pan seared to perfection. Delicious!


  • 4 Mahi Mahi fillets (each about 4 - 6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1 tsp dark soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 TBS light olive oil for frying


How to cook Pan Seared Mahi Mahi

  1. Mix together the paprika, sugar, garlic and onion powders, salt, cumin, chili, black pepper and oregano in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of each fillet and rub it in.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy based pa over medium high heat.  Add the fish fillets, presentation side down and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until  the fish reaches your desired level of doneness, bearing in mind that it will continue to cook while it sits.  Serve hot with your desired accompaniments.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Here is the recipe for the sweet and tangy coleslaw which I made to serve with the fish.  It went down a real treat. Do beware however it is more like a pickle and will not keep well, so whilst you can prep the vegetables ahead of time, you shouldn't dress them until just prior to serving.

Honey Lime Coleslaw

Yield: 4
This is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy.  It doesn't keep well so you will want to eat it on the day. You can prepare the vegetables ahead of time, but don't dress until just prior to serving.


For the salad:
  • 1 cup of green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 small red pepper, trimmed, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
For the dressing:
  • the finely grated zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 TBS liquid honey
  • 1/8 tsp powdered garlic
  • 2 TBS light olive oil
  • 1 TBS dried coriander leaf


How to cook Honey Lime Coleslaw

  1. Toss all of the vegetables together in a bowl.  Whisk together the dressing ingredients to amalgamate thoroughly.  Pour over the vegetables and toss all together to combine.  Serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Here you can see how creamy white the flesh actually was when it was cooked, a complete contrast to what I had expected when I first saw this fish raw. Seafresh is an on line fish monger, which sells quality fish, seafood, poultry and meat.  If you can recall, I was very impressed with both their product and their delivery service!  There was absolutely nothing that I could fault with any of it. Feel free to read about my experience here. Many thanks to Seafresh for sending me this Mahi Mahi to try.  There doesn't appear to be any  Mahi Mahi available on their page at the moment,but keep checking back to their website to see when it becomes available again.

A few things about Seafresh:
  • Same Day dispatch on orders received before 1 PM.
  • All packages are carefully hand packed.
  • Free delivery on orders above £50, £8 on orders below that amount. 
  • Responsibly and sustainably sourced.
  • Air Blast Frozen at source within 4 hours of being caught.
  • Wide variety to choose from. 
Do check them out on their website to find out more.
Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Note - Although I was gifted with product free of charge for the purposes of review, I was not required to write a positive review in exchange, nor would my integrity allow me to recommend anything if I did not truly like it. Any and all my opinions are my own entirely.

Up Tomorrow: Irish Oatmeal Muffins 


Marie Rayner
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Easy Almond Croissants

When we lived down in the South East of the country we sometimes took ourselves over to France for a day out.  We were not all that far from the ferry back then, and it was an easy jaunt and a pleasant trip over on the Ferry. You could be sitting in Boulogne enjoying a hot drink and a plate of Frites in only a few hours, even faster if you took the car train through the tunnel.

I preferred the ferry over the train for several reasons.  For one, you could get out of your car and stretch your legs.  For two, you could spend the journey in their comfy lounge enjoying a drink and one of their fresh almond croissants. 

Oh boy  . . .  one of the things that the French do very well, aside from their beautiful breads and macrons  . . .  is croissants and my favourite of all are the almond ones.  They are quite, quite, QUITE delicious to say the least!

It has always been my dream to spend a week in Paris, in the Spring time when everything is bursting out in bloom, and it is neither too hot, nor too cold . . . not too wet, and when I can sit at a sidewalk cafe within the sight of the Eiffel Tower, enjoying a hot drink and a freshly baked almond croissant  . . . 

Oh yes dreams do come true.  I am a great believer in the truth of our dreams, but in the meantime, I make these, which are not quite as fabulous as the fresh ones you can get in France, but let me tell you, they make a pretty darned tasty substitution!!

I have adapted the recipe from one I found online here.  She adapted it from a recipe that she found here.  AND she adapted the recipe from one she found here by Clothilde Dusoulier on Chocolate & Zucchini.

Aren't we just so very, very blessed to have the wide variety of sources to draw from these days online?  I think so at any rate.  So much inspiration . . .  so little time.  There are just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I would love to do.  Not enough . . .

I hope you will forgive me for not having the potato recipe which was planned for today.  I ended up having to work on a new recipe for the site I write for and so I didn't have enough time to do the Pillsburg Potatoes, but never fear.  It is still in the queue for a later date. 

In the meantime I give you tasty, flaky delicious croissants . . .  brushed with an almond flavoured liqueur syrup  . . . it soaks into those flaky layers and adds much additional almond flavour and a hint of sweet  . . .

Filled with a rich and lush almond filling  . . .  oh boy, but I could eat that with a spoon  . . . buttery and almondy and scrum, Scrum, SCRUMMY!

Brushed with yet more of that almond syrup and scattered with flaked almonds before baking  . . .

until the almond filling is all gooey and golden  . . .

And the outsides sweet and golden crisp . . . .

Ready to dust with some icing sugar and then sit down and enjoy with a nice hot cuppa.  All is right with the world . . .  all is right  . . .

Yield: 8

Easy Almond Croissants

You can't get much easier or tastier than this!


You Will Need:
  • 8 day old medium sized baked croissants
  • a handful of flaked almonds
  • icing sugar to dust
For the Soaking Syrup:
  • 120ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS Disaronno liqueuer (almond flavoured)
For the Almond Filling:
  • 45g granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 50g ground almonds (1/2 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 60g diced butter (1/4 cup)
  • few drops almond essence
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten


How to cook Easy Almond Croissants

  1. First make the syrup. Put all of the ingredients into a small saucpan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for one minute. Set aside to cool.
  2. To make the filling whisk together the almonds and the sugar. Using a spatula mash in the butter until well combined. Add the almond essence to the egg and stir into the almond mixture to combine thoroughly.
  3. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4.
  4. Take your croissants and using a serrated knife cut them in half horizontally, leaving a small hinge on the one side so that they are not completely separated. Brush them thoroughly on both cut sides inside and all over the outside. They should be fairly saturated. Spoon a portion of the almond filling onto the bottom cut sides, and fold the tops back over. Place onto the baking sheet, leaving space in between. Brush with any remaining syrup and sprinkle almonds on top.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until the filling has set and the croissants and almonds are golden. Remove from the oven. Let cool slightly, dust generously with icing sugar and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator

It is also my dream one day to bake croissants from scratch  . . .  hopefully while I still have the energy to cope with laminating doughs and all of the rolling and buttering and faffing about.  In the meantime I still have Paris  . . .  and I still have these  . . . 

Up Tomorrow:  Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with a Honey & Lime Coleslaw 


Marie Rayner
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