Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Fruit & Yogurt Muffins

Yes, it's muffins again. :)
I noticed that milk, one of the ingredients of muffins, can be replaced by other types of dairy products such as buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt. So, here are my first yogurt muffins. I thought blueberries would be the best match with yogurt, but there was a nice crunchy apple in my kitchen, so I used chopped apple instead.  I suppose any fresh fruit which goes nicely with yogurt would make lovely muffins with this recipe. Chopped pear, pineapple, etc.
I was just curious how the yogurt would affect the texture of the muffins. The result was ... wow, better than I expected. The muffins had a really bouncy spongy light texture and pieces of apples made them moist, but not soggy at all. The very gentle tangy flavour of the yogurt complements the apple so well. Make sure that you do not over-mix the batter. That 's the muffin rule. :)


  • 260 g plain flour
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 240 ml plain yogurt (regular or low fat)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable or sunflower oil
  • ½  teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 100 g fresh or frozen blueberries   ( Blackberries, raspberries, or cranberries …… or even chopped apple which I put in the muffins pictured here.)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 
  2. In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the yogurt, lightly beaten egg, oil, and vanilla extract. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Remove 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and toss it with the blueberries.
  3. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Gently stir in the blueberries. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan. 
Blueberry and Yogurt Muffins 31.05.2012 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

As far as my recent muffin making is concerned, this is my personal best. :)
The texture of the muffin base is really light and moist, but not soggy at all. There is a generous portion of blueberries in each muffin which makes them so juicy.
I was wondering why blueberry muffins are so popular, but I kind of understand why after making blueberry muffins for the first time. I think it's because a blueberry has a very delicate skin which, unlike other berries, does not burst until the muffin is almost cooked, which means that the juice doesn't affect the consistency of the muffin base. It's a lovely sensation when some of the blueberries burst in your mouth. No wonder blueberry muffins are so popular.
They are best still warm, but can be frozen when they have cooled. Because they are so light and more-ish, they won't take long to disappear and you might not have any to put in the freezer.  :)


  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 150g Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 100ml Milk
  • 75ml Vegetable Oil  (5 Tbsp)
  • 1 Egg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 125g Fresh Blueberries 


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and add paper cases to a muffin tray.
  1. Measure out flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  1. Measure milk, oil in a large measuring jug. Add egg and vanilla, then whisk well.
  1.  Add the wet mixture (3) into the dry mixture (2).  Stir until just combined. Mixture will be lumpy.     Do NOT over mix!
  1. Gently fold in blueberries.
  1. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top

Friday, 25 May 2012

Easy Muffins

Since I got this new muffin baking pan, I can't stop baking muffins. :)
Apple muffins, Savoury Muffins were successful, but, to be honest, there were some unsuccessful ones when I tried to create a new recipe. It's not easy to make nice and fluffy light textured muffins.
The 1-egg Muffin recipe in my blog has been my favourite, but it's a bit time consuming as I have to make a bread-crumb like mixture from flour, butter and sugar with my fingers before adding wet ingredients.
It's a messy job. I enjoy this when I have time to do it as I know the result has been good so far.
But I just wanted to make quick muffins. After a few trials, I came to settle with this recipe. This is a very basic muffin recipe, so you can add whatever you like ... chopped apple, berries, chocolate chips, nuts and various dried fruit. The very important tip of making soft and fluffy muffins is not to over-mix the batter.
I must confess that I have made very dense heavy muffins by over-mixing them.
Once you add the wet mixture to the dried mixture, don't mix too much! Less is better.


  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 150g Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼  tsp Salt
  • 150ml Milk for muffins with dried fillings like nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruit.  if you are making muffins with fresh fruit 100ml milk will be enough as the fruit contains moisture. 
  • 50ml Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh/Dried Fruit, Nuts… etc.


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and add paper cases to a muffin tray.
  1. Measure out flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix the dried ingredients well.
  1. Measure milk and oil in a large measuring jug. Add egg and vanilla, then whisk well.
  1.  Add the wet mixture (3) into the dry mixture (2).  Stir until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).        Do NOT over mix!
  1. Gently fold in fruit, etc.
  1. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Making your own muffin cases

There are lots of lovely muffin cases you can buy in shops and on-line. Beautifully shaped, coloured and patterned stuff is available. I've noticed that the rustic look muffin wraps are becoming popular alongside the traditional ones. Some people call these wraps, "tulip muffin wraps." Ah, yes, they look like tulips don't they? These are seen in coffee shops or deli counters. They seem to be for American style eating rather than English afternoon tea. I discovered that you can get ready-made rustic look muffin wraps, but as they look so "home-made", you might as well make them yourself.
Lorraine Pascale shows how to make your own muffin cases using baking paper in her pumpkin and rosemary muffin recipe. Have a look at how she does it on her video. Anyway, here is how you can make your own muffin wrap. I also think greasing the paper is quite important as the muffin sticks to the paper if you don't grease it. This is the Apple Crumble Muffin which I baked the other day. I forgot to grease the paper, so it fell apart when I tried to remove the paper. Still, it tasted good. :)

  1. Cut out 5-inch square pieces of baking paper. 
  2. Spray the muffin tin with vegetable oil cooking spray to hold the paper in place. 
  3. Spray each piece of paper. 
  4. Place 1 piece of paper into 1 cup of the tin, pressing along the folds to crease. Repeat with other cups and paper pieces. 
  5. Scoop batter into cups, and bake.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Low-fat Savoury Muffins

This is a favourite "lazy weekend supper". Black forest ham, mozzarella cheese and tomato salad with good olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar. I normally have chiabatta bread to clean up the plate, but I tried something different today. I've been in a kind of muffin mood recently, so I thought I could bake savoury muffins for this supper. I could have used cheddar cheese as most savoury muffin recipes suggest, but I decided to go for a low-fat option of cottage cheese. The result was rather nice. :)   It proves that muffins don't have to be sweet.

Ingredients for 6 muffins 

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • freshly ground pepper
  • dried herbs (if you have fresh herbs, it would be even better) 
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 ml milk
  • 60 ml vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 2-3 slices of ham
  • 100g cottage cheese
  • 6-8 pitted green olives chopped   


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and add paper cases to a muffin tray.
  2. Measure out the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the milk, oil, and egg. Then, stir into the dry ingredients until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).  Carefully mix in ham, spring onion and cottage cheese.
  4. Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
I added frozen peas in the mixture. 30.05.2012 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Apple Crumble Muffins

Apple crumble is a classic pudding that goes with a good old English Sunday roast and everybody's favourite, isn't it?  Here is a muffin version of apple crumble.  You can enjoy the very moist but light sponge, juicy apples and crunchy crumble topping. I used brown sugar to get a toffee like rich flavour, but you can use white caster sugar for a lighter finish. Do not forget to add cinnamon to both batter and topping mixture as the cinnamon flavour is the key to this muffin.... well, of course, if you like cinnamon. Anyway, I think apple and cinnamon is an unbeatable combo. 
I also added walnuts to the topping mixture to create an even crunchier texture. 
These muffins make a lovely Sunday breakfast with a big mug of coffee. :) 

Ingredients for 8 Muffins       

  • 200g Plain flour
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 50g Soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon powder 
  • ¼  teaspoon Salt
  • 90ml Milk
  • 80ml Vegetable oil
  • 1 large Egg, beaten
  • 5 drops Vanilla extract
  • 2 large Apples - peeled, cored and chopped

 for Crumble Topping

  • 30g Plain flour
  • 15g Granulated sugar or Demerara sugar
  • 15g Soft butter or Low-fat spread
  • Cinnamon and crushed Walnuts, ( Oats, Hazelnuts, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds ...... etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6 and add paper cases to a muffin tray.
  1. Measure out flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, oil, egg and vanilla. Stir until just combined (mixture will be lumpy).
  1. Gently fold in chopped apples and spoon mixture into muffin cups. Sprinkle Crumble topping on top of each. 
  2. Rub together the flour, sugar and butter (or low-fat spread) until the mix resembles bread crumbs. Sprinkle over top of each muffin. 
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Once you've made your own pizza from scratch, you will know how enjoyable it is to make and eat.
It's seriously good. :) My pizza dough is half the quantity of my basic loaf recipe for a 12 inch round pizza. It's plenty for 2 people. It doesn't take as long as you may think. I got home at 5:30pm today and had this pizza dinner at 7pm. Actually, it's a de-stress exercise as you need to punch the dough to make the pizza's lovely chewy texture. :)    Anyway, once you make the pizza dough, the topping options are endless.
My topping list tonight is as follows.

  • Caramelised onion (cook the thin sliced onion with olive oil for 15 minutes with low-heat. Splash with  balsamic vinegar at the end)
  • Roasted vegetables (aubergine and courgette roasted in the oven with olive oil)
  • Mushrooms
  • Anchovies
  • Green olives
  • Low-fat Mozzarella cheese
  • Tomato paste (It works well if you don't have time to cook tomato sauce. I always use this.)

for 12in round Pizza dough

  • 250g Strong Bread flour 
  • 3.5g sachet fast-action dried yeast (1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried mixed herbs 
  • up to 175ml lukewarm water

  1. Make the dough by tipping the flour, yeast, salt and dried herbs into a large bowl and making a well in the middle. Pour in most of the water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough - add a splash more water if necessary. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. This can also be done in a tabletop mixer with a dough hook. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  2. Heat oven to 220C/ fan 200C/ gas 7. Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out. Stretch the dough on the pizza oven plate. Cover it with the oiled cling film. Then leave it for about 10 mins. 
  3. Bake the dough on the oven proof pizza plate for 15 mins.
  4. Take the dough out of the oven and spread the tomato paste, then put toppings on the dough
  5. Bake the pizza for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese begins to bubble.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Golden Syrup Cake

Here is the regular loaf tin version of the Golden Syrup Cake on the BBC Good Food.
I wanted to bake a very sticky syrupy cake.
Yes, this cake is seriously sugary... and it actually becomes even stickier the next day.
Well, certainly this will cheer you up when you are very tired and a bit fed up.
Go on.
Have a cuppa and a slice.   :)


  •  4 oz Butter (or Low-fat spread)
  •  4 oz Sugar (light muscovado adds depth but caster is fine)
  •  8 oz Golden syrup
  •  8 oz SR flour
  •  1 Egg
  •  150 ml Milk


1.     Preheat the oven to 140C/fan (or 160/C - gas mark 3). Grease the tin and line the base with baking paper leaving a little to cover the bottom corners and sides. Press into place.

2.     Place butter (I used low-fat spread), syrup and sugar into a large pan and heat gently until the ingredients are just melted together, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool for 10 minutes (it helps if you place the pan away from the hob during this time since it will remain warm).

3.     Beat the eggs with the milk. Add the flour and milk/egg mixture to the cooled syrup mixture in the pan and beat steadily with a wooden spoon until all the lumps have gone. This may take a few minutes so you will need a little patience. Pour the mixture into the tin.

4.     Bake for around 50 minutes to an hour. The cake will be well risen and springy, but still very moist. After a few minutes cooling time, pierce the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the extra golden syrup over the top. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

This cake keeps for a week and only improves with time! 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

6 oz Cake

When you bake a cake for the first time, obviously you may chose the easiest recipe to follow. The recipe has the basic items that you can find in your cupboard and fridge. Nothing fancy.
Here is my "6 oz Cake" whose main ingredients are fat, flour and sugar in equal measure of 6oz.    Some people call this type of cake "Pound Cake" which I remember I saw in a shop in Japan. But I had no idea what this really meant. Anyway, you can find lots of recipes of this easy to follow basic cake and I have one, too.   My recipe is based on Delia's "all-in-one sponge" which was in my first cookery book I bought in Britain.   My version follows the same principal of "equal amounts of fat, flour and sugar", but I changed other  ingredients over the time I have been baking this cake.
Now, for me, this is the formula which works perfectly. Very light but moist... and low-fat.
This cake is very versatile. You can add dried fruit, chocolate chips, cocoa powder.... etc. to change the flavour.... endless potential. :) 

  • 6 oz Low-Fat Spread
  • 6 oz Caster Sugar
  • 6 oz SR flour (or Plain flour)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder (if you use the Plain flour, increase the BP to 2 tsp)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Lemon or Orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp  Milk
  • 1 Tbsp  Lemon Juice

  1. Pre-heat the oven 160-180 °c      
  2. Put all ingredients in the food processer and mix well. Or put all  ingredients in a bowl and mix with  electric hand mixer.
  3. Bake it in the oven for 40-50 minutes
  4. When the cake is baked, let it stand for 5 minutes, then turn it out on a plate.

       *Decorate with lemon juice + icing sugar mixture   

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Really Fruity Tea Cake

 I was looking forward to baking this cake last night when I was soaking the dried fruit in my favourite Earl Grey tea.... 
When I came across the fruity tea cake recipe in BBC Good Food, I couldn't resist trying this out immediately. Sadly, I didn't have "dried berries and cherries" that the original recipe suggested and I didn't particularly want to rush to the shop to buy them at 10pm. So, I emptied all my dried fruit jars and got 250g of mixed dried fruit, apricots and prunes. Well, That's all I had. So, I adjusted the original recipe for tea soaked dried fruit. I used Earl Grey tea instead of normal tea because I love the flavour. 
Next morning, I found all the dried fruit looked plump and juicy and ready for me to bake a cake with them. 
The cake was really rich in flavour and moist.... and really really low-fat.  Look at the independents. :) 
Ah, and it would be even nicer if I added some kind of  liqueur, like brandy, cointreau or cherry liqueur to be a bit naughty. :)  Perhaps I could add some spice such as cinnamon and cloves to make a version of Christmas cake.  

250g mixed dried fruit, apricots, and prunes
200ml hot Earl Grey tea
Juice of 1 orange (about 75ml/2½fl oz) plus zest
50g butter (or Low-Fat spread)
100g light brown sugar
225g self-raising flour
4 tbsp demerara sugar


1.     Place the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the hot tea, orange juice and zest. Cover with cling film, then leave for at least 4 hrs or better still overnight.

2.     Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 2lb loaf tin. Beat together the butter (or low-fat spread) and sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg followed by the flour. Carefully stir through the fruit mixture including the tea and the orange juice. Spoon the mixture into the tin, then smooth over the surface with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle all over with a thick layer of demerara sugar.

3.     Bake for 1 hr or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread & Butter Pudding

Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread was a hit. Really tasty, but I left some slices for this. Yes, great leftover desert, good old bread and butter pudding. I had some slices of Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread that I baked yesterday and I needed the eggy mixture.
I googled it and found an interesting article. "How to make perfect bread and butter pudding" hmmm. I suppose everybody has an opinion of how they like their bread and butter pudding.
However, it's always safe to go back to Delia if you're not sure.
Her eggy mixture contains 3 eggs, 275ml milk, 60ml double cream and 50g sugar for 8 slices of bread. I had small slices of Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread, so I made the mixture with 2 eggs, 220ml milk and 30g sugar. I didn't add double cream because I didn't have it in my fridge.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread

Fancy a slice of sweet bread? 
How about Chocolate and Walnut Swirl Bread?

I noticed a large jar of chocolate spread hanging around in the cupboard when I was waiting for my bread dough to be proven. I thought to myself, why not use half of the bread dough for sweet bread.  I normally make 2 loaves with my basic bread recipe. 
So, I left one half for normal bread and I had fun with the other half. I made the second half of the dough flat and spread 3 generous spoonfuls of  chocolate spread on the dough. Then I sprinkled chopped walnuts and rolled the dough as if making Swiss roll. I put both the normal loaf and this sweet loaf in the oven, then baked as usual.
A great weekend lunch with home-baked bread, ham and cheese, then this sweet bread for desert.
Why not? It's the weekend after all. :) :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cinnamon Nutella Cake

Nutella on toast is my comfort food.
The lovely nutty and chocolatey flavour is one of my childhood memories. I loved to munch Nutella in a soft bread roll and drink very sweet coffee flavoured milk when I was a little girl. I thought that was the best combo when I was starving after a swimming lesson. :)
I was wondering if there was a cake recipe using Nutella, and found quite a few. This recipe is based on the one I found in BBC Good Food. It worked very well with low-fat spread producing a very moist and fluffy sponge. I tried to make a marble effect with the Nutella, but as you see all the Nutella sank to the bottom. As a result, there was slightly crunchy chocolate stuff in the bottom which I quite enjoyed.
  • 175g (6 oz) softened butter ( I used Low-Fat spread)
  • 175g (6 oz) golden caster sugar
  • eggs
  • 200g (7 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 4 rounded tbsp Nutella or own-brand chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 50g hazelnuts (I used walnuts), roughly chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/ fan 160C. Butter and line the base of a 20cm round cake tin.
  2. Put the butter (or low-fat spread), sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and milk into a bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. Tip three quarters of the mixture into the tin, spread it level, then spoon the Nutella on in four blobs. Top with the remaining mixture, swirl a few times with a skewer, then smooth to cover the Nutell
  4. Sprinkle with the nuts. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until risen, nicely browned, feels firm to touch and springs back when lightly pressed (cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly). Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. Wrap tightly in double thick foil to keep fresh for up to a week.