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Healthy whole wheat muffins that make for a great lunch on the go

Healthy whole wheat muffins that make for a great lunch on the go

Such a great moment: sitting there with your bags all packed, ready to head to a different country; even if it is only for a short few days.

Next to food, travelling is one of my great joys – it is so exiting to explore, discover and experience (maybe because most traveling involves foodie adventures).

Because I want to enjoy each journey as much as possible, I do not like starting my trips with horrible road side lunches or awful airplane sandwiches. One of my favourite foods to take on the road are these flavour packed muffins. They are healthy, can be prepared a day in advance and they just make the perfect tasty hand-held snack.

Unfortunately I have no idea where I found this recipe. Such a shame as I would like to tell whoever came up with it that I like it so much that this muffin is now part of my go-to  snacks.

Ingredients
6 muffins

115g (1 1/4 cup) whole wheat flour
15g (1/8 cup) sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper*
1/4 tsp salt
85ml (3/8 cup) milk (or unsweetened non-dairy drink)
55ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil (I used a mild olive oil)
1 large egg
a handful of spinach leaves
1/2 a roast red capsicum/ bell pepper**
50g (3/8 cup) feta cheese

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
  2. In a bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cayenne and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, milk and oil.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet and fold together gently.
  5. Remove stems from the spinach and thinly slice.
  6. Chop capsicum roughly.
  7. Gently fold the spinach, capsicum and crumbled feta cheese under the dough.
  8. Line a muffin tin with 6 muffin liners.
  9. Divide dough amongst the cups.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out dry.
  11. Allow to cool.
  12. The muffins can be refrigerated overnight.


Tips & Variations

* the spiciness of the cayenne add a wonderful punch to these muffins. Do not omit. At a push the cayenne could be replaced with chili powder

** you can use roast peppers from a jar. I tend to roast larger amounts myself and keep them in the freezer.

How to roast a capsicum:

  1. Cut the capsicum in half, flatten them, place skin side-up on aluminum foil.
  2. Place directly under a hot grill (broiler) until the skin is black.
  3. Remove from the oven and wrap the foil tightly around the capsicum. Leave until cool enough to handle.
  4. Peel off the skins.
  5. You can freeze the peppers you are not using: lay them individually on a chopping board and place in the freezer until hard.
  6. Wrap the individual slices in clingfilm and then place into a (zip-lock) freezer bag.
  7. Store in the freezer. They take very little time to defrost
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Sweet crunchy corn in a fluffy batter makes for healthy and delicious fitters


When I first moved out of home, I lived in England for a while, where weekends meant leafing through the Observer newspaper over brunch. …..and the first thing I would read was always Nigel Slater’s cooking column…..

I have to admit,  I do not read  the Observer anymore. Instead I watch the BBC Saturday kitchen on telly 🙂  But thankfully that means I still get to enjoy Nigel ‘s take on food once in a while.

The below recipe I jotted down last year when Nigel was on my tv screen praising fresh corn. He was sitting out in the open air, cooking theses little fritters on a small camping gas burner. But believe me they taste fabulous made on your kitchen stove at home.

These fritters become a substantial lunch when you serve them with tomato (and avocado) salad.

Ingredients
(Nigel Slater – as I remember it from the BBC Saturday Kitchen somewhere 2011)
About 10 small fritters
Serves 2 if served with an avocado tomato salad (my addition)

Fritters
2 corn on the cob
1 spring onion
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt, pepper
optional: pinch of chili flakes
2 small eggs

Optional Salad
2 tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes
1 avocado
1 spring onion
salt pepper

 

Recipe

  1. Cut the corn off the cob. (See below for my trick on how to do this.)
  2. Chop spring onion and add to the corn.
  3. Add flour, baking powder.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder (optional).
  5. Separate the eggs. Add the egg yolk to the corn.
  6. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Carefully folder under the corn.
  7. Fry about 10 small corn cakes 2-3 minutes each side.
  8. If you are making the salad. Cut the tomato and avocado into pieces. Chop the spring onion. Season all with salt, pepper.

Serve with

  • some fried bacon rashers
  • or for an afternoon snack you could serve the fritters with a guacamole

Tips & Variations

To cut the corn of the cob you

  • get a large mixing bowl.
  • Turn small cup upside down into the bowl.
  • Place cob on top of the small cup and shave corn off with your knife.

Cutting corn made easy and mess-free

A Fabulous Starter: Savory Cheesecake with the Full Flavours of Mushroom and Capsicum

The savory filling of this cheesecake is similar to a quiche’s. The crumbly cheese cake base contrasts beautifully with that smooth texture. The flavours are earthy and satisfying.

As the dish is wonderful when served at room temperature, it is a great make-ahead starter for any dinner party.

 

Ingredients
(from the blog ‘A Communal Table’)
Serves 12 (one miniature cheesecake a person)

1/3 red bell pepper (DE/NL: paprika)
50g melba toast
25g butter
1 tbsp oil
150-200g assorted wild mushrooms
75g shallots
2 tbsp dry sherry
375 – 460g cream cheese, room temperature (DE: Frischkaese)
Salt, pepper
Grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
55ml whipping cream
100g gruyere cheese
3 tbsp fresh chives
130g crab meat (I had to resort to using a can)

Recipe

  1. Grill the capsicum to remove the skin (for instructions see “Tips&Variations”)
  2. Preheat your oven to 190C.
  3. Prepare your muffin tin by cutting two strips per cup and laying them in cross-wise (to help you lift out the cheesecakes). Then cut circles the size of the tins and place them on top of the strips. (You can skip making the strips but I would strongly recommend making the circles).
  4. Grind the melba toast until you have fine crumbs. Melt the butter in the oven and combine with the crumbs. Evenly spread the mixture over the muffin tins (about 1 tbsp per tin). Bake 10 minutes or until golden.
     
  5. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan. Sauté mushrooms until the mushrooms are just starting to brown and the liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
  6. Chop the shallots and add to the mushroom. Sauté until tender (about 2 minutes).
  7. Add sherry and cook until evaporated. Set aside and allow to cool.
  8. In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until soft.
  9. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  10. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mixing in well after each addition.
  11. Add the cream and beat until thoroughly combined.
  12. Grate the gruyere.
  13. Cut capsicum into very small cubes.
  14. Chop chives.
  15. Combine all the prepared ingredients with the cream cheese and add crab meat.
  16. Spoon the filling into the prepared muffin tins about 2/3 full.
  17. Bake 20-35 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  18. Let the cheesecakes cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Tips & Variations

How to remove the skin from the capsicum:

  • Turn on the grill of your oven.
  •  Remove the seeds from the capsicum.
  • Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and flatten the pepper, skin side up, on the baking sheet.
  • Grill until blackened.
  • Remove from the oven and wrap the foil around the capsicum to hold in the steam.
  • Let sit until cool enough to handle.
  • Peel off the skins.

 I always prepare more capsicum than I need for the dish I am making. I then wrap the remaining pieces individually in cling film, freeze them in a single layer for about 1-2 hours and then transfer them to a freezer bag for future use.

 

Serve with
Some fresh tomatoes and/or rocket salad.

Julia Child's perfect hard-boiled eggs

My new kitchen is installed and ready for use – I decided that this was the perfect moment to invite you into my kitchen and launch my food blog. The thing I needed to figured out next was what to cook for my first post:

As I am still busy putting the house in order,  I needed to keep my first recipe simple. At the same time I wanted something with a little symbolism: so I decided on basic hard-boiled eggs. (As a side I made some easy Irish soda bread to test out the new oven.)

Hard boiled eggs might be a basic, but there are not “just” boiled eggs, these are perfect eggs: this recipe guarantees a silky egg white and a beautiful bright yellow yolk (instead of a blue-green blob at the center of a rubbery egg).

I deserve no credit for this method; it is a slightly simplified version of Julia Child’s way to cook eggs.

Recipe

  1. Place your eggs in a pot that is large enough so they all fit on one level.
  2. Cover the eggs with about 3cm water.
  3. Leave the pot uncovered and place on a high heat.
  4. Now follows the most difficult part of the recipe: you need to be next to the stove the moment the water begins to boil. (You are looking for a few bubbles breaking the surface, not a rolling boil). I tend to set a timer for 5 minutes and then start keeping a closer eye.
  5. Once the water is boiling turn off the heat, cover the pot and remove it from the heat source. Leave the eggs to stand for 17 minutes. (exactly that time,  is what Julia sais…..however from here on in my approach deviates from Julia’s).
  6. Pour the boiling water off. Fill the pot with cold water twice adding ice cubes the second time. (do add the ice cubes, they will help you to peel the eggs).
  7. Let the eggs sit in the cold water for 20 minutes before you peel them (cold eggs are easier to peel).(Julia actually puts more water on. As soon as it boils she adds the eggs again, leaves them in for 10 sec and then returns them to the ice water. Only then does she leave them to chill for 20 minutes. I have to admit I have never tried this additional step, but found my eggs are fine to peel nonetheless.)

Tips
Ensure your eggs are room temperature (if necessary immerse them in warm water for a while).
It is also better to use eggs that are at about two weeks old (eggs shrink with age which will make them easier to peel)

Serve with
I enjoyed the egg on a quick and easy Irish soda bread.