Maple and Oat Scones

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Hey – first let me say something I say quite often: sorry! Sorry for not posting anything for such a long time, sorry for not baking anything in a couple of weeks and sorry for it still taking a week for me to post the bake I did. Let’s just say I’ve been crazy busy.

I do say I’m sorry quite a lot – people often tease me with it or say that I should not say it that often. But it is difficult – it has entered my system haha. And I do truly mean it when I say it – however, I often mean the more kind of ‘ I’m sorry for you/that sucks/that is so unfortunate/I wish I could do something to help/that’s a shame’ and not the ‘ I’m sorry because I am the one to blame’. Nevertheless, this time I am sorry as in I am the one to blame for not posting something in quite a while. I tried to remember very hard what my last post actually was and then I realized it was before easter – BEFORE EASTER. That feels so long ago. I’m sorry. H

Nevertheless, I had a really nice easter weekend – I went and visited my parents in Mildura. And I did actually bake (twice!) something there, together with Nic. We had a dinner on the first night in Mildura and I offered to bake something. One of the children that came for dinner was gluten-free, so there I got a challenge. I searched the web a bit and found this yummy sounding almond and orange cake, but also a yummy sounding almond and apple cake. So what to do? Combining it! So we made a gluten-free almond, orange, lemon and apple (first time, but pear second time) cake. And it turned out to be very delicious! Soon I will make it for my blog as well!

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After the Easter the weekend, the chaos began. I had to work a lot on the cookbook that I am volunteering for which I still enjoy a lot – but it also took a couple of long days of hard work to get it where it is at now. Besides that, I had this big assessment due for my Spatial Design class. We had to design a house of 10 square meters, with everything in it – bathroom, kitchen, dining/living and bedroom – which is a pretty hard challenge. Nevertheless, after a weekend of late nights, stress, stress, stress, freaking out of a stupid model, Google Sketchup, printing a poster, I presented my ‘Mountain House’. My design was a 10 square meter permanent shelter in the mountains for temporary stay for mountain climbers. So happy that that is done – now onto the next assessment.

And of course it stayed busy after – until now – when I have finally found a moment to post up these yummy, delicious, health-ish, high-tea-indulgencing, maple and oat scones. When I was deciding on my bake for the week, I felt like making something a bit less cakey, or sweetish. I was contemplating of going all the way to the savoury side – but scones seemed like a good in between. Besides that, I had never actually made them myself (but have indulged on them in the UK the last time I was there) and I had no reason for never making them (because I really like them, I have made tea biscuits before which are really yummy as well – maybe on my blog sometime soon?), so it was time! I did some research on scone recipes on my good old friends BBC food and BBC Good Food. However, none of the recipes seem to please me enough to get excited to start making them. So I went of my computer, back into real cookbook and got the scones recipe from A Piece of Cake by Leila Lindholm. I planned on making her recipe – but I wanted to change it a bit, so I could create it for my own blog. So I wondered around the internet a bit more and stumbled across the Oat and Maple Syrup Scones from Smitten Kitchen.

So in the end I did what I did with the gluten-free cake as well – I made a recipe which combined both Leila’s recipe and the Smitten Kitchen scones. And well – they turned out pretty delicious. Good as afternoon tea, good for breakfast, good for during a group meeting for a presentation, good with jam, good just by it self, buttery, flaky, yummy.

So no more sorry’s for today – and no more talking 🙂 get your English high tea mood on with a hint of Canadian syrup and enjoy :)!

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Oat and maple scones

Makes about 8 large scones

  • G 80g oats
  • 220g whole wheat flour
  • 150 all-purpose flour
  • 1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 120g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mil
  • 1 egg and oats for finishing

 

 

  1. JPreheat the oven to 220C and place a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet
  2. Mix together the oats, flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Dice the butter and mix it with the dry ingredients with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs.
  4. Whisk the egg together with the milk.
  5. Mix the mixtures and the maple syrup and the dry ingredients together to make a stiff dough. Add more flour if the dough is still too sticky and add more milk if you think the dough it too dry. (I had to add some more flour)
  6. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 2.5 – 3cm thick. Use a Ebiscuit cutter to cut out eight rounds.
  7. Put them on the baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with oats.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
  9. Serve by themselves, or with jam (and maybe whip cream?) and enjoy :)!

 

 

 

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Let me know what you think? And what is your favourite bake for a high tea?

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Red velvet and blueberry muffins

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Helllooooo :)! 

So many things happening at the moment! But of course I want to take a moment to bake something this week as well :)! This week I made red velvet and blueberry muffins. Red velvet muffins have been popping up more and more the recent years – so you might think ‘oh no – she did not get into this trend as well…’. However, for me there are lots of good memories and stories connected to red velvet cake or muffins.

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Let me begin at the beginning (I feel a bit like Ted from How I Met Your Mother right now – if you have watched it haha), ‘it all started on shortly before my eighteenth birthday (which is almost 2 years ago…)’. Because turning 18 feels a bit more special than your average birthday, I wanted to celebrate it by having a ‘fancy’ dinner with cocktails and cake with my friends. I was very lucky – because in June an awesome friend from the USA had arrived in Amsterdam and was staying with us for a couple of months, while doing graphic design work for a company in Amsterdam (yes – he is doing what I would love to do after my degree – so he is a great source of inspiration). Let’s call him by his name haha, Seth. 18Seth was very excited to help me out with my birthday party and a brilliant source of enthusiasm for every single detail of the dinner. We created cocktails together, he designed my menu’s, we got things to decorate everything (within a colour scheme).And he introduced me to red velvet cake. I had never had red velvet cake before, and did not know what was so ‘special’ about it besides being bright red. Nevertheless, Seth convinced me to try Jamie Oliver‘s recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes (making it into a cake instead of muffins) to have as my birthday cake (he had brought Jamie’s America with him as a gift). And this cake turned out to be divine – my friends loved it. The rest of my cocktail party was amazing as well – I could not have wished for a better way to celebrate my 18th birthday – so once again: Thank you, Seth!!19

I also made this cake when my family came over for my birthday
– and it was literally g
one within 5 minutes (due to my slow slicing of the cake haha). So a pretty good cake you would say. I am not finished with my red velvet muffin story though (sorry – you might just want to scroll down to today’s recipe haha).

A couple of weeks after my birthday, I went to Canada to be a nanny. And when I came back I only had two months before leaving to Sydney. One of the first things when I came back from Canada was the question from one of my friends when I would make red velvet cake again – and I had to promise I would make it before I headed off again. So fair enough, when I had a goodbye-dinner a couple of days before I left, it was very easy to decide what to have for dessert: red velvet cake (but in the shape of a koala this time!) 15 16 Even though, the celebrating had more of a sad nature this time – the cake was delicious, helped a lot and the dinner was very nice! (And yes – got a koala hat to keep me warm in Sydney hihi)

Done yet? No – sorry, almost though! In my first year in Sydney, I asked my new friends if they ever had had red velvet muffins. And they told me that they hadn’t and asked me what is so special about them. Hmm… I actually found it hard to answer this question. For me, they obviously have a lot of memories connected to them. But they themselves are really nice as well. So let me try to describe them. They are very light in texture (velvet-like haha) and have a subtle but strong enough chocolate flavour to them. They are just really good, just try them haha – too hard to explain. And the same I did for my new friends – I decided just to make them, so they could experience them for themselves. They really enjoyed them too and so did my housemates.

Later, they were also one of the first bakes I made when I got together with Nic – and he really enjoyed them as well. Every time I made the muffins in Sydney, I got jealous messages from my friends in Amsterdam – demanding that I would make them as soon as I was back (I did also give them a recipe – but apparently they were much better when I made them haha – no I am not bragging). So when I was back in Amsterdam in February, we had a dinner in the last weekend before I left for which everyone made something. And I made my red velvet muffins again. They turned out really good and were yummy with the icing I made as well. The few there who had not tried them before (some of which a bit sceptical maybe of the red colour), enjoyed them as well. 17

Now, this week. Why make them this week?
Well, you can obviously make them any week, since they are pretty divine.But this week is a good week to post them onto my blog since it is in the middle of the birthdays of two really good friends in Amsterdam, Inge and Marike (with whom I can be crazy at home and maybe a bit more civilized at the airport haha)20
Inge’s birthday was last Friday – she had a fancy dinner this time and I got to be the designer designing her menu this time 🙂 which was a fun experience. But unfortunately I could of course not attend her dinner. Marike’s birthday is this Saturday and clearly I cannot celebrate it physically with her either. So therefore I decided to devote this post to them – wishing them an amazing, wonderful and awesome birthday and promising to make them red velvet muffins as soon as possible.

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I did tweak my recipe a bit this time – altering it a bit more from the Jamie Oliver recipe. I added blueberries. Why? Because I really like blueberries and especially in light-textured cakes they make an awesome addition to my opinion. I also thought the blueberry and chocolate combination would work well, and the colour contrast would be cool! And of course, I like to experiment with recipes. So here you go. They actually turned out even better than I expected. The blueberries are an amazing addition and lift the red velvet muffins to the next level (is there a level about divine? Maybe galaxy-like haha?). If you want to have the pure red velvet muffin experience first, just leave the blueberries out. I used frozen ones, but I am sure fresh blueberries would work as well.

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So, one more thing to address before I give you the recipe. Easter. Happy Easter to you first of all. And secondly, these muffins will keep Nic and me company on our road trip to my family in Mildura – where we are going for easter. I am very excited to see them all (and the cats and the new dog Moca) and really like that Nic is coming with me. The road to them is long though – about 1000km. So let’s hope that these muffins will make the trip a bit more bearable haha.

 

 

14 6I love the red colour – just so bright and happy!
9 102Bright colours – happy days! 
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Well, enough of my stories today. I hope you can make your own stories with these muffins and I would love to hear them! Enjoy!

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Red velvet and blueberry muffins

Makes 15 muffins or one large cake

  • 90g butter
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 4.5 tbsp red food colouring
  • 4 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 260g flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or make your own by combining 3/4 cup of milk (can by diary-free milk – I used soy milk today) with 3/4 tsp of white wine vinegar)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a muffin tin with muffin paper cups.
  2. Beat butter and the sugar by hand or with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and well mixed. Slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated. Add the salt and red food colour until you have a lovely bright red mixture.
  3. Slowly pour in half the butter milk and beat until well mixed. Fold in half the flour and mix everything well. Mix in the rest of the buttermilk and afterwards, fold the rest of the flour into the mixture. Beat until you have a smooth and even mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar. Whisk it and it will fizz up. Add it to the batter and mix until well combined.
  5. Quickly rinse the frozen blueberries (do not thaw them before using them) and coat them lightly in flour. Add them to the batter and fold them in.
  6. Divide the batter over the muffin tins – bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (it can come out a bit red because of the food colouring and if you prick into a blueberry, your toothpick will be wet, obviously – so keep that in mind when checking).
  7. Leave the muffins in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to let them cool completely (although they are yummy warm as well).
  8. Optional: after they have completely cooled down, you can cover them in frosting – you can use any recipe (with cream cheese or just butter), all work well!

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Breakfast Muffins

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Hello – a sunny morning to you ( okay, maybe not  – the Sydney sky is pretty grey today haha)

5I’m glad it is weekend – although I of course have lots to do this weekend as well. Last week was very busy for me since I had two assignments for my study due and was working on my cookbook volunteering job a lot as well. But oh well – after 1.5 week of not sleeping that much everything got handed in that had to be handed in. And I was quite pleased with my end results. Now onto the next assessment 😉 (yes they never let you take a break haha). But I will make time for breaks and for BREAKfast muffins :)!

I was not sure what I was going to make this week, I had not put much thought in it to be honest since my head was everywhere and nowhere (and my brain was not functioning as it should). However, in the last couple of days I got some inspiration for this weeks bake! Nicolas has to get up very early for his job everyday and does not really have time to make a nice breakfast in the mornings – so I figured I might try to find a bit of a solution (just for the coming week) for that: breakfast muffins! They should be healthy, filling, easy to take, nutritious and tasty! I did some research online and ended up making a whole wheat/oat/banana/hazelnut/dates/coconut/spices/coffee (yes caffeine is needed in the morning) mixture – which turned in muffins after being in the oven. So they are completely butter/oil free and they have no refined sugar (only natural fruit sugars).8The muffins are also whole wheat and whole grain (if you use whole grain oats). They are very filling (good for breakfast!) (and the recipe makes a lot haha), they are also not very sweet – which might be better for breakfast (but you can increase the dates or add some sugar if you want – and I think they will be sweeter with more overripe banana’s – because mine were still quite ‘new’). I did like them a lot – but next time I would put some fruit in them as well – maybe blueberries or apples. In my opinion, the muffins were quite heavy in texture and taste and the only thing breaking away from that were the hazelnuts. They can be frozen (and then taken out the night before you want to have them for breakfast) or just stored in an air-tight container (but make sure you eat them within 4 – 5 days if you don’t freeze them). I hope you like them – but do feel free to experiment with different nuts or the addition of some fruit (dried or fresh)!

3Breakfast muffins

makes 15 big muffins

  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • 200g whole grain oats
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 150 g roasted and chopped hazelnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (can be replaced with non-dairy milk – and feel free to add a bit more if the batter is very dry)
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 3 banana’s (preferably very ripe)
  • 120g dates
  • 2 eggs, divided1
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roast the hazelnuts for 8 minutes (stir them around after 4 minutes). And line your muffin tin with muffin paper cups. 2
  2. Combine the flour, oats, coconut, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a big mixing bowl. Chop the cooled hazelnuts into coarse pieces and add them to the dry mixture.
  3. Mash the banana’s into a puree. Process the dates in a food processor with a bit of warm water to make a soft paste. Insert the banana’s and process a little more. 11 10
  4. Add the banana and date mixture to the flour mixture. Add in the milk, coffee and egg yolks. Mix all until well combined. Feel free to add more milk if the texture seems a bit dry. (If you want to add any fruit – I would do it at this stage).
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (I recommend using an electric mixer to do this). Fold the egg whites carefully into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter between the muffin cups – you can probably fill up more than 15 muffins if you prefer smaller muffins.
  7. Bake the muffins for 25 – 30 minutes in the oven. But check them every now and then. If a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and not very wet, they should be done. If you are not sure, take one muffin and break it open. The inside should be moist but dry – so not looking like batter any more. Leave them in the tin for 5 minutes before taking them out. They can be enjoyed warm or cold! I hope you like them!

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Almond and lemon biscotti

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Two posts in one week – woah! (Okay, okay, I did delay my post from last week with a week, so really it is not that impressive haha). Today in Sydney was a very gloomy, rainy and cold day. So after my lecture this morning and a meeting for the cookbook which I am working on, I got home and felt like crawling into bed, drinking tea, sleeping – but most of all: baking! And can you come up with anything better to do on a rainy day?! (Even if you can – baking is probably still a very good option!). IMG_1592I had been thinking over the last week what I wanted to make and decided that I do not often make cookies. Why? I do not know. It’s not that I dislike cookies, not at all, maybe it is just that I have made more muffins and cakes in my life so I am more able to adapt them while baking.

But this week – a challenge – cookies, and not just any cookies that I made before. No. This week I was going to make a kind of cookie I had never made before: biscotti. It is funny to discover how much more research I do into different recipes for the same baked good since I have started this blog (yes, I only want to give you the very best 😉 ). I used to always just google, often ended up on the BBC Food website, or just look in a cookbook, and as soon as I found a recipe for the thing I felt like making I would go with it. But not this week. I think I have probably looked at, hmmm let me think, 8 recipes for biscotti? Maybe even more – my brain is one big biscotti by now haha. I look at the BBC Good Food website, BBC Food, Smitten Kitchen, a cookbook that I owe (called ‘A Piece of Cake’) and lots more. They all used different amounts of sugar, flour, and other ingredients. I was really surprised by the fact that biscotti are made without butter – the things you learn from having a baking blog! Some were made with cranberries, others with hazelnut – I even found one with chocolate and OLIVE (okay – I HAVE to try that sometime – I just need to know if that combination actually works haha). But I decided to go for the more traditional one – almond and lemon (and a hint of cinnamon of course). Today was the perfect day for biscotti’s – in the middle of my crazy, busy, intense weeks (yes to bake is to have a break (and I needed one)), on a rainy, gloomy day – and they pair very well with either coffee or tea. I will stop rambling now. And just give you the recipe. Okay – one more thing – prepare yourself, your hands will get dirty, but it is worth every little bit (and it is actually quite relaxing, dirty hands and baking :)). I hope you like them – enjoy! Let me know what you think!

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IMG_1594 copyAlmond and lemon biscotti

  • 125g whole wheat flour
  • 175g all-purpose flour
  • 130g almonds, chopped and roasted*
  • 150g brown caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. And line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Combine the flour, almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and the zest of the lemons in a big bowl. Mix until combined
  3. Add the eggs in and let the dirty-hand-stage begin.IMG_1583 copyMake the mixture into a dough – you might need to add a little more flour if your dough still seems very sticky (mine was a little sticky, so I added some flour). Once your dough has come together, shape it into 2
  4. IMG_1585logs and place them on thebaking sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes in the oven, until they are lightly browned. Cut one of them through the middle to make sure that they are dry inside.
  5. Transfer them to a cutting board and let them cool slightly.
  6. Cut the two logs at an angle into 1 cm slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet.
  7. Place them back in the oven voor 10 minutes, then turn the slices over, and bake them on the other side for another 8 – 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. IMG_1586 copy
  8. Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat them while they are still a little warm if you cannot wait). Enjoy them with coffee, tea, hot chocolate or just by themselves :)! If stored in an airtight container, they should keep up to at least 3 weeks.

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*Toast the chopped almonds for 5 minutes in the preheated oven, but let them cool a bit before you start making the dough – you do not want to burn your fingers on hot nuts :)!

 

 

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Flourless Chocolate and Pear Muffins

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Hi there! Firstly, sorry that it took me longer than I wanted to post up these muffins. I made them almost a week ago, but life was just too full to put them up. I hope the taste will make up for it ;). The weeks are getting busier and busier with university assessments and also my volunteering for the cookbook. All very exciting, but sometimes a bit intense. So that is one of the reasons why I really needed a weekend away. Last weekend, my lovely boyfriend, Nicolas, and I went camping in Coolendel. This is a campsite about 3 hours away from Sydney, but you have the feeling you are in the middle of nowhere – perfect for getting away from the rush of the city. I wanted to bring something baked to enjoy on our little trip. Something that was easy to bring, tasty, yummy and good. IMG_1542At the moment, pears are in season, so I decided to do something with pears, and (why not?!) chocolate. I looked at different recipes, scones, cakes, muffins. And decided in the end to use a BBC Good Food recipe as the base of my recipe. The recipe is a cake, but I figured muffins are easier to have ‘on-the-go’. I increased the chocolate a bit and used less butter – they turned out really good! They were a lot lighter than I had expected. Maybe my pear-bits were a little big, because the muffins did tend to fall apart a bit. They were nevertheless very tasty and a good camping treat :)! IMG_1546

 

Besides the tasty muffins, we had other treats at the campsite as well – wallabies, wombats and iguana’s! We got to pet one of the wombats, when we went for a late night walk. The first wombat we spotted ran away when we tried to approach it – so we let it be, since we didn’t want to stress it out. But the second one (our friend 🙂 ) stood still, a bit nervous-looking, but as soon as we started to pet its back, the wombat completely relaxed, dropped its shoulders and started eating grass. That was a very awesome and cute experience :)! We also went swimming in the river on the campsite, which was very cold. After a while, when I got used to the cold, it was a lot of fun! And the sun was shining enough to later dry you, if you were standing on a sunny spot. So all in all, it was a really good weekend – with an awesome campfire, cool wildlife and delicious muffins – hopefully we’ll get to do it again soon :)! But for now, this is the recipe for my flourless chocolate and  pear muffins! Let me know if you like them – and what you would take as a camping baked treat!

IMG_1551 copyFlourless chocolate and pear muffins

Makes 11 muffins

  • 85g hazelnuts, roasted and ground in a foodprocessor*
  • 60g butter
  • 85g brown caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used 90%)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped into smaller cubes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. And line your muffin tin with muffin paper cups. IMG_1544 copy
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, and leave to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts
  4. In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk (I would use an electric whisk if you have one – I tried (okay, I have to admit that it was late at night and I was tired from kick boxing) to do it by hand, but decided to go for the electric whisk instead) , beat the whites until they reach a soft, but stiff peak. Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions.
  5. Fold in the pear pieces. Divide the batter over the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pears are soft and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Make sure you check every now and then within the 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool completely. You can definitely eat them warm as well, but the pears will be very hot. And I liked them more when they were cold!

IMG_1550 copy*To roast the hazelnuts, place them for about 8 -10 minutes at 180C in the oven. Afterwards, let them cool down completely. Try to get rid some of the hazelnut skin. Place the nuts in a foodprocessor and process until you get a fine meal. My hazelnuts were still a little coarse, which gave a nice texture in my opinion, with the surprise of a bigger piece of hazelnut from time to time. But if you want a softer, smoother texture, I recommend processing them until they look more like flour than small breadcrumbs!

Banana And Coconut Bread

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There are not many things I do not like. Especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Sometimes I feel I can been seen as ‘fuzzy’ with food, since I am a vegetarian – but really, besides that, I would not say I am very difficult. However, there are of course I few things I do really dislike, raisins for example (so you will not find a recipe with raisins here – sorry to the raisin lovers), and even though I have a love for chocolate, chocolate and orange is a no-go combination for me! Banana’s are a fruit I do not strongly dislike, but I also do not really like to eat just by themselves. In my year living on my own I have never bought banana’s. So when I was in Canada last year and they decided to make banana bread as a lovely treat, I was a little apprehensive. I had eaten banana bread before, but was not jumping to have it again. But this banana bread changed my views on banana breads haha. Maybe because it also included coconut? Which gives it a lovely texture and just that little extra to lift it up. So, for the first time living out of home, I bought banana’s. Purely so I could make banana bread, and put the recipe up here, to share with you.2

After my brownies from next week, I decided to go for a bit more healthy bake this week. I have been following Solveig’s blog ‘Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl’ for quite a bit now. She has a very inspirational blog on vegan food, but she also does not use refined sugar or oil (she does use coconut butter) in any of her recipes. I use her blog more as inspiration and to adapt my recipes sometimes, to make them a little healthier or to try something vegan. I have not been convinced by the gluten free trend yet, but I think leaving gluten out sometimes definitely cannot be bad (so maybe a gluten-free recipe will be up soon(ish)?). I used her recipe for Basic Gluten-free Vegan Banana Bread as a guideline to change some aspects of the original recipe. So after reassembling the recipe, today after my long day at the university I NEEDED a break – so why not bake (haha it even rhymes!)?! I mashed my defrosted banana’s, added dates, flour, spices, and coconut. After that, I popped it in the oven, and soon the house started to smell really nice. I took it out of the oven maybe slightly to early – another 10 minutes would have been nice. Nevertheless, it was very nice, moist, coconutty banana bread. So here is my adapted version of the delicious Banana and coconut bread I had in Canada. Let me know what you think! 3

Banana and coconut bread

  • 4 medium size frozen banana’s (defrosted) or very overripe banana’s*
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  •  2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 all-purpose)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dried shredded coconut (desiccated)
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease the tin you want to use for your banana bread – I used a round one, but any will do!
  2. If your dates are a bit hard, soak them in hot water for 5 minutes.
  3. Mash the banana’s (and their liquid if you are using defrosted ones), until they are quite smooth. Don’t worry if you still have some lumps!
  4. Put the dates into a food processor, and blend them until they form a paste (you might need to add some of the soaking liquid to make it a little smoother). Add the date paste to the banana’s and whisk until well combined. 6
  5. Add the white wine vinegar to the mixture and give it a quick whisk.
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon to the banana mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add half of the milk, stir until combined, then add the other half.4
  7. Now you can add the coconut to your batter, just simply stir it in.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan you are using and but it in the oven. Make sure you check every once in a while with a small knife or skewer. You want the skewer to come out clean, the bread to look a golden-brown and the bread to become loose at the edges of the tin. It should take about 50 – 60 minutes.1 If the top is burning before the inside is ready, place some tin foil over the top – that will prevent it from burning.
  9. After your banana bread is done, let it sit (out of the oven) for 10 minutes before transferring unto a cooling rack. Then simply cut yourself a piece and enjoy :)!

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* To freeze bananas, choose overripe fruit (freezing is an excellent way of storing overripe bananas). Peel them and cut into larger chunks. Freeze overnight on a tray or in a container. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag, seal and freeze for up to 1 month. Place in a bowl to defrost at room temperature, and save the juices.

Poppy Seed and Nut Brownies

Hello there! How has your week been? 

Poppy seed and nut brownies

My week has been crazy – busy, stressful, difficult, challenging, but also exciting, fun and rewarding. Last week, my second year of my degree started. So I am in week two now, and already have an assessment due tomorrow!! They give me no time to get into studying again, haha, just straight away – full on! Which is good as well, since I am terrible at ‘doing nothing’. It makes me quite restless, so having lots to do is better for me. Except for the stressing factor, that I already have experienced a lot lately. Maybe not the best week to do another bake you may say? Well, I have to do something to clear mind as well, right?

So this week, I have decided to make brownies. I am sure I don’t have to give any reason to make brownies – I mean I have never met someone who did not enjoy them. But I do have a couple of reasons 🙂 (to make the brownies even better haha). Firstly, chocolate contains several good chemicals that make you happy (tryptophan and phenylethylalanine) and a stimulant (theobromine) to help you relax and wake up. So if you’re stressful and battered out, chocolate is your best friend :).IMG_1511 Another reason for the brownies this week, is that I think they are a good food to celebrate! And I have some things to celebrate! I finished my first assessment without last minute work (which feels a bit nerve wrecking and a bit good haha). But my other reason to celebrate is more exciting, and needs a bit of explanation. At my university, there is a student association. They do many different things, but one of them is that they make a cookbook each year, for the students, full of students’s own recipe. A lot of volunteers work together to make this cookbook. And this semester they were (amongst other positions) looking for a volunteer Graphic Designer. So I applied, since this would be an awesome opportunity to learn a lot and improve my skills! My interview was last week, and this Monday I got to know that I am the Graphic Designer for this year’s cookbook :)! So more work for me haha, but I am excited to dive into this project. I have lots more to learn, so bring it on! I’ll keep you posted on how the cookbook is going 🙂

Enough talking, more baking, more brownies.

For the brownies, I choose Delia Smith’s Four Nut Chocolate Brownie recipe. Her brownies are absolutely divine already (so you can also decide to stop reading here and just go for herrecipe haha). I adapted the recipe a bit – I used only three kinds of nuts and added poppy seeds. I love poppy seeds, but always seem to forget about them. So I figured, let’s try if they go well with chocolate! And of course, I added a bit of cinnamon, how could I resist that? They came out sweet, gooey, chocolatey, nutty – just yummy.

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I have to give you Delia’s advice before starting the brownies: ” You need to get into the brownie mood, and to do this stop thinking ‘cake’. Brownies are slightly crisp on the outside but soft, damp and squiggly within. ” So now you know this, bring on your brownie mood and enjoy!

Poppy Seed and Nut Brownies

Makes a lot of brownie – easily divided into 20 good squares.

  • 140 g nuts (can be any kind you like – I used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 80 g dark chocolate (preferably 75% cocoa solids or more)
  • 130 g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 75 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the tin you want to make your brownies in with baking paper (any shape will do, I had one cake loaf tin and one round one).
  2. Place the nuts on a baking sheet with baking paper. Roast them in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn!! IMG_1487
  3. After the nuts are done, set them aside in a bowl to cool down.In the meanwhile, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Allow the chocolate and butter to melt and then beat until smooth.IMG_1488
  4. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Chop up the nuts roughly (not too small) and fold them, together with the poppy seeds, into the brownie mixture. IMG_1495
  7. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Bake the brownies for 20 – 25 minutes in the oven or until it is slightly springy in the centre.
  8. Leave the brownies in their tin for 10 minutes, before cutting them into squares and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely (or before you pop these warm and gooey brownies in your mouth). I hope you like them!

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