Apple & Cinnamon Muffins with Crumble Topping

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

Apple and cinnamon is one of my all time favourite combinations and the two flavours come together beautifully in these muffins. The crumble topping can be omitted but it adds a bit of extra bite and texture and reminds me of the apple & cinnamon muffins that Starbucks used to sell. These are perfect for putting in lunch boxes for a sweet treat – yes, they contain sugar but they beat shop bought biscuits and cereal bars hands down in my book.

Ingredients (makes around 12 muffins):

  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 200 ml milk 
  • Grated zest from one lemon
  • 200 g plain flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 3 large apples
  • 1 tbsp butter for frying
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Crumble topping:

  • 75 g cold butter
  • 50 g rolled oats
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 80 g sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Melt the butter and add to the egg mixture along with the milk and lemon zest.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl before adding to the batter.
  3. Cut the apples into small slices and fry them in butter, sugar and cinnamon. Let them cool down slightly.
  4. Add the apples to the batter and and fill up paper cases placed in a muffin tray until 2/3 full.
  5. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and pinch together with the oats, flour and sugar in a bowl.
  6. Scatter some crumble on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

NB: I had a lot of crumble topping left over so next time I will either halve the quantities or have some more fruit the ready to make an apple crumble at the same time.

 

Recipe: White chocolate & lemon cake

lemon & white chocolate cake

One of the things I love about living in a country with distinct seasons is how the food that we eat changes as we move from one season to the next. In summer it’s all about fruit, salads, seafood, barbecues and chilled rose wine, preferably enjoyed al fresco with the warm sun beating down. As the weather gets colder I start to crave richer and heavier foods like casseroles, lasagne (with or without the pasta), apple pie, and look forward to sipping hot chocolate or red wine in front of an open fire.

I’m sure my waistline would benefit from living in a warmer climate but my taste buds would definitely miss the autumnal fare. I am starting to draw up a list of recipes that I want to try this season but in the meantime this lemon and white chocolate cake is perfect for the Indian summer we’re having at the moment when it’s still warm enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake out in the garden.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 2 egg
  • 200 ml sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250 ml plain flour
  • Grated zest from one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

 

  1. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy
  2. Melt the butter and stir in the chocolate. Add to the bowl
  3. Stir in the flour, lemon zest and juice
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loose base cake tin
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven at 200 degrees
  6. Sift over some icing sugar and serve with raspberries and whipped cream

The BBC Good Food Festival

Last Saturday we went to the BBC Good Food Festival held in the picturesque grounds of the historic Hampton Court Palace. It really was a feast for all the senses: a beautiful setting, gorgeous smells and of course lots of yummy food to taste. And taste it we did, walking up and down the stalls sampling everything from cheese and chorizo to brownies, biscuits and fudge before deciding what to buy. We were lucky with the weather too, it was the last day of sunshine before the rain arrived.

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{The boys and I in front of the fudge stall that sold almost every flavour imaginable from traditional vanilla and clotted cream to Jammy Dodger, Skittles and Bailey’s fudge. Casper got a tad over excited!}

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{Cameron tasting some cheese. In the end we bought five different varieties to take home, including caramelised onion, mango and garlic cheeses.}

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{These deep fried sugary churros were delicious – even more so when dipped in the pot of melted chocolate that they were served with. I have found a recipe on Pinterest that I intend to try next time I feel in need of a calorific treat.}

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{The beautiful palace was the perfect backdrop. It’s almost impossible to get a photo of Cameron these days without him doing the ‘Victory’ sign. Must be a ten-year-old boy thing!}

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{When you got bored of eating there were lots of games to play in the gardens, including croquet, giant chess and connect four. The children challenged Daddy to the tug of war and, thanks to a superb team effort, they won!}

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{Clemmie loved the ‘princess’ stamp that the ticket lady stamped on our hands when we arrived at the food festival}

All in all, a lovely day out. This week so far has been work, work and more work. Looking forward to the weekend and my mini break next week. X

 

Five on Friday

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{Clemmie was happy to be back home with all her toys. She and I are off to Sweden again in two weeks’ time to visit my sister and her family.}

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{I’m still on a shopping ban but the kids desperately needed some new clothes for autumn so I went slightly mad in Zara Kids this week. They really have some fabulous stuff for both boys and girls.}

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{Now that Casper is moving up to the junior school, both boys needed new backpacks and school supplies like pencil cases, pens and water bottles etc. I still LOVE shopping for back to school things just as much as I did as a child.}

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{OK. so I’m not allowed to shop but I can still look, right? The planning for my A/W wardrobe is well underway and this jumper from All Saints is top of the list along with a new pair of ankle boots and winter coat.}

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{Two weeks of pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cinnamon buns and wine (not necessarily all together) have left their all too visible marks. Time to switch up the healthy eating a gear with the help of recipes such as this delicious-looking one for salmon and chickpea salad. More food inspiration can be found on my Pinterest board.}

Hope you have a fab weekend. It’s a three-day one here in the UK and we intend to make the most of it with plans to go to a food festival and to Ikea to check out new kitchens. What are you up to? X

Super Smoothies

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When life gets busy it’s easy to let healthy eating habits slip and instead reach for sugary snacks as a quick pick-me-up. Having a smoothie for breakfast helps ensure that you get at least two or three of your five a day and, if you add some superfoods, it will also keep your energy levels high, boost your immune system and stave off sugar cravings. The lovely people at Indigo Herbs sent me a big box crammed full of some of their best-selling healthy goodies such as wheatgrass, spirulina, bee pollen and Acai powder. Time to dust off the smoothie maker and get creative!

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First up was this smoothie made from mango, bananas, orange juice and a teaspoon or two of organic Acai powder, organic wheatgrass powder, organic Maca powder, and organic raw banana powder. To find out more about the health benefits of these superfoods, check out the Indigo Herbs website.

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Next, I tried a blueberry and banana smoothie with some added spirulina powder, banana powder and bee pollen granules. I was especially intrigued to try the latter as I had just read an interview with Victoria Beckham in Vogue where she was enthusing about bee pollen’s wrinkle busting properties and other health benefits. It has quite a coarse texture and I found that even after a thorough whizzing in the blender, there were quite a few large bits floating around in the smoothie. It still had a great flavour, although I preferred the first combination of ingredients.

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I also tried sprinkling some bee pollen granules on my morning muesli and that, to me, was a better way of eating it.

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A small, family run company based in Glastonbury, Indigo Herbs prides itself on only supplying the best organic, wild crafted or quality assured products available. All the powders came in generously sized packaging, so there’s plenty left for me to try more recipes. Ordering via the website couldn’t be easier and, although they will not give specific nutritional or medical advice, the knowledgeable team are happy to talk customers through the various products on offer.

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Five on Friday

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{It’s mine! I finally got my hands on the Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream perfume – it smells so lovely and the bottle looks fab too.}

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{Another great purchase was the ‘family size’ paddling pool we bought this week. Hours of fun in the garden and keeps the kids cool in this hot weather.}

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{Long sunny days and evenings really are a balm to the soul. Last night I ate my dinner outside with a book for company while the rest of the family were glued to the Commonwealth Games on the TV.}

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{When my parents moved house they gave us their lovingly cultivated tomato plants. This week the tomatoes were finally ripe enough to eat and I have to say that they taste so much nicer than the ones from the supermarket.}

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{All packed and ready to go! We’re off to a wedding in Cambridge tomorrow so tonight has been spent getting all our finery ready. Dress from Asos (bought for Clemmie’s Christening three years ago), shoes and fascinator from John Lewis and clutch by Mulberry.}

Hope you have a fantastic weekend! X

 

Raspberry Jam Biscuits

Hallongrottor 2

These biscuits are a real favourite of mine. In Swedish they’re called Hallongrottor which translates to ‘raspberry caves’ and they remind me a bit of jammy dodgers although they’re much nicer than the shop bought ones. They also freeze really well so I like to whip up a big batch and keep for impromptu coffee mornings.

Ingredients:

200g butter at room temperature

100ml caster sugar

1tbsp vanilla essence

450ml plain flour

1tsp baking powder

150ml raspberry jam

Hallongrottor 3

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees

2. Stir together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and light. Mix the flour with the baking powder in a separate bowl before working in to the dough.

3. Divide the dough into 20 pieces of equal size and roll into round balls. Place in muffin cases and, using your finger, make a small indentation in the middle.

4. Fill the indentations with raspberry jam and bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes.

Hallongrottor 1

Recipe: Fish Soup with Homemade Aioli

Fish Soup 1

“Soup!?” I hear you say, “in the middle of summer?!”

And you’re right, I probably wouldn’t choose to have this for lunch on a scorching hot day but eaten, as we did, at the end of a rainy summer’s day, it was simply delicious. Just add some crisp salad, crusty bread (gluten free in our case) and a glass of chilled white wine and you have the perfect light supper.

Recipe:

Serves 4
2 cod fillets, cut into cubes
3 salmon fillets, cut into cubes
1 onion
1 garlic clove
A generous handful of cooked prawns
1 tin of tomato soup (around 500g)
300ml double cream
150ml water
salt & pepper

Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in butter in a saucepan. Add the water and cream and bring to the boil. Add the fish and allow to simmer over a medium heat for around 5-10 minutes (depending on the size of the fish pieces). Pour over the tomato soup, season with salt and pepper and simmer for a while longer. Add the prawns and allow to heat through.

Fish soup 2

Aioli:

1 egg yolk
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
A pinch of salt
2-3 garlic cloves
Approx 200ml neutral oil (eg rapeseed oil)

Mix together egg yolk, vinegar, mustard and salt in a bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk and add the oil gradually. Continue to whisk until all the oil is added and the mixture has the texture of a thick mayonnaise. Add a small amount of water (approx 1/2-1 tbsp) and whisk some more so it becomes whiter and looser. Add the garlic using a garlic crusher and refrigerate the aioli for a while before serving.

Fish soup 3

 

 

Five on Friday

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{We had some friends over for dinner last weekend and finally cracked open the big bottle of prosecco that my husband got for his birthday back in October!}

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{Now that the kids are back at school we have had some lovely sunny weather (typical!) so there have been quite a few trips to the park. Clemmie was really scared of going on the swings for a while but now she’s got over her fear and is even happy on the ‘big’ swing. She looks grumpy here because she wanted me to stop taking pictures and push her instead!}

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{Our dinner guests brought some beautiful flowers that have been brightening up my work space this week.}

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{When it comes to food, every week is the same for me. I start off with good intentions and make healthy meals like this smoked salmon and goats cheese salad for lunch…}

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{…and then, come 4pm, I inevitably give in to my sugar cravings. At least these apple crumble muffins are homemade AND have fruit in them! Marginally healthier than chocolate methinks.}

Hope you have a fantastic weekend! X

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara

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Spaghetti Carbonara is one of those classic dishes that everyone seems to have a slightly different recipe for, although the basics (eggs, pancetta, parmesan) remain the same. My husband makes ‘proper’ Carbonara without the cream, instead adding white wine and a sprinkling of nutmeg as per Nigella Lawson’s recipe. It’s very tasty but I’m pleased to say that the kids prefer my version! In fact, this is my eldest son’s favourite dish and he always requests it on special occasion or when he is having a friend over for tea.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

400g Spaghetti

3 Egg yolks

100ml Double cream

75ml Creme fraiche

75g Finely grated parmesan

Black pepper

150g Cubed smoked pancetta

1 tbsp Olive oil

25g Butter

Method:

1. Boil the pasta in a pan of water with a bit of olive oil according to the packet instructions.

2. In a bowl combine the egg yolks, double cream, creme fraiche, parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.

3. Fry the pancetta in the olive oil until it starts to crisp and remove from the heat until the pasta has cooked.

4. When the spaghetti is ready, drain and return it to the saucepan. Tip over the pancetta and butter.

5. Keeping the pan on a very low heat, pour over the egg mixture and stir it through until it thickens and coats all the strands of spaghetti.

6. Serve immediately with extra parmesan and black pepper.

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