Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A shiny new kitchen :)

New Kitchen


I have a new kitchen! - and a new home :)

It's not much but it has a working oven and a decent size fridge (the grey thing peeking out from the bottom left corner). This will do nicely for the next 12 months. :)

I'm still under equipped compared to my previous place. We don't have any cutlery trays, so the utensils are every where and rattling about. I am still lacking a beater and food processor but I have a scale! Which means I can still make something :)

Pink roses

A new plant for a new home. A lovely and thoughtful gift from our friend Bonnie. Thanks Bonnie! :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Muffin Madness 1 - A new travel ritual

blueberry muffins

It all started off innocently. We were all gathered around the dinner table one Friday evening having a great big whinge discussion over dinner about the 8am flight the next day to Luxembourg.

Me: "Oh crap! I haven't packed!"
B: "Hmm..We should sleep early tonight."
A: "What time are you waking up tomorrow?"
Me: "Who's going into the shower first?"
A: "What time is the cab coming?"
B: "Are we going to have time for breakfast?"

... were some of the questions that was flying around the dinner table.

Somehow or rather I arrived to a pathetic conclusion that we probably won't get fed until we arrive in Luxembourg.

A: "Not my problem, I don't eat breakfast."
B: "I don't need breakfast either, so I don't care."
Me: "But.. but.. I'm going to die.. and R is "difficult" when she's hungry!"
A & B: "You can wake up early and eat breakfast."
N: "Hehe, I'm not going, so have fun!"

Sigh. Some fine and caring friends I have huh? Knowing that my poor belly was not going to function very well on an empty stomach, I decided if I wanted breakfast then I would have to do something about it. Waking up at 4am was not an option, since I treasure my sleeping time the most out of everyone. There were no guarantees that anything would be opened at the airport at 7am in the morning, so breakfast on the run was the only way to go and the best breakfast on the run would have to be muffins.

To be honest, what I really wanted to make was cupcakes - I'm more of a cupcake girl than a muffin girl. But a cupcake for breakfast seems just a tad extravagant, especially with the frosting and all. So I settled for some blueberry muffins instead.


Blueberry muffins wheel

Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/4 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek honey yoghurt)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 Tbsp flour (if using defrosted frozen berries)

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower part of the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until the eggs are well mixed.
  6. Beat in the grated lemon peel.
  7. At this point, you beat in the dry and wet ingredients in three batches. Firstly, beat in one third of the dry ingredients until just mixed through. Then, beat in one third of the yogurt also until just mixed through.
  8. Follow with the remaining ingredients. Take care not to over beat it. Once the ingredients are mixed through, fold in the berries. (Note: If you are using frozen berries, defrost them first, drain the excess liquid, and then coat them in a light dusting of flour.)
  9. Use a standard 12-muffin muffin pan. If not using muffin liners, grease muffin tins with a little bit of olive oil or melted butter.
  10. Distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups.
  11. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick to make sure the center of the muffins are cooked through.
  12. Allow to cool slightly before remove muffins from the tin. Serve slightly warm.

Note:

You'll notice from the instructions that this recipe uses a beater all the way from beating the butter through to mixing the dry and wet ingredients. It seems strange at the start as we all know you're suppose to just fold in the ingredients not beat them through with a beater as over beating would cause the muffins to be dense.

I've actually used this recipe twice, once beating the ingredients in with the beater and once folding it through with a spatula. I didn't notice much difference in the texture of the muffin whether folding and/or beating the ingredients in. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I was using the lowest speed on the beater so as not to over beat the muffin mix.


The verdict:

These were the best blueberry muffins I have ever had. As I said earlier, I'm not a big fan of muffins. My dislike for muffins stems from the fact that they're usually either too dense in texture, too sweet or too dry and they always leaves me with a heavy stomach after every meal. But these muffins are most certainly different! They are deliciously moist, light and fluffy! I discovered this recipe at Elise's blog, Simply Recipes. She has the best collection of muffin recipes ever. I've tried three of them so far and they all got the thumbs up from me!

So what does the muffin have to do with my travel ritual? Well, it all started with this blueberry muffin breakfast on our first trip out of London to Luxembourg. Ever since then, I've made a point of making us an afternoon tea snack for Friday evening departure (trips) and breakfast for all of our early morning flights. It's an effective way of keeping my stomach happy since I almost always suffer from indigestions due to irregular eating times particularly when we're flying out after work on a Friday night or first thing in the morning on a Saturday to make the most of the weekend.

I'm off again this weekend, this time to Krakow. I haven't quite worked out what I'll be making just yet, but you can be sure that I'll be sharing it with you..... when I get around to it ;)


Blueberry

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Breakfast on Shrove Tuesday

Caramelised Strawberry and Plum w/ crepes

A little treat on Shrove Tuesday.

Ingredients:

1 batch of crepe batter (I used this recipe)
3 strawberries, halved
1 plum, halved
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 lemon
(extra lemon wedges for serving)

  1. Make crepes as per recipe.
  2. Place brown sugar onto the pan and squeeze in lemon juice.
  3. Do not stir, allow sugar to start caramelising before placing plums face down onto the pan.
  4. Let it cook for about 5mins before adding in the strawberries (also face down).
  5. Allow strawberries to cook for about 2mins, then remove from pan and serve.
Optional: serve with a dusting of icing sugar.

Caramelised strawberries and plum

Happy Pancake Day :)