Apple cinnamon muffins

I promise these are yummy. Use the apples you love and you’ll just relish in these amazing spongy delights! Here I have used granny smith apples with the skin still on, after washing of course. I also love these muffins using gala apples with the skin giving a hint of red peeking through, creating a sense of wonder to the round morsels! Have a go, we ate nearly all of them for breakfast…. whoops!

Ingredients

2 apples, diced (I leave the skin on)

125 g butter

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ cup milk

1 cup caster sugar

2 cups self-raising flour

2 tbs oats, 1 tbs raw sugar and 1 tbs ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top if you like

 

Method

Place the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add the eggs and mix for a further minute on low. Now add the cinnamon, flour, milk, salt and vanilla. Mix until well combined and looking lovely. Now add your chopped apple. Mix until the apple is through your batter. Spoon your mixture into lined muffin cases. If you like you can sprinkle some extra ground cinnamon and some raw sugar on top for a sugary cracked look, or leave plain, or even add a thin slice of apple to the top. Bake in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 20-25 minutes. Smell that! It is the smell of love!! Enjoy your muffins warm, or once cooled, keep in an air tight container for up to 2 days to prolong the yumminess!

 

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Apple cinnamon muffins

Vanilla dream cupcakes

These are so simple, and like most recipes the simple things are the tastiest! Just make sure you use proper vanilla pods or proper vanilla bean paste. Enjoy these fabulous little darlings!

Ingredients

125 g butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla pod scrapings or essence

2 cups self-raising flour

Splash of milk

 

Buttercream Icing

125 g butter

2 ½ cups icing powder

1 tbs milk

1 tsp vanilla pod scrapings

Method

Combine the butter and sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with electric mixer in between. Add the vanilla, flour and milk and electric mix until the mix is smooth. Divide into a patty cake tin lined with paper cases. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 18-20 minutes. Whilst they bake let the butter go near room temperature, then when malleable stir in the powder, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer. One the cupcakes have cooled completely, go ahead and ice them up! Decorate or leave them plain, whatever you do they will taste spectacular!

Vanilla dream cupcakes

Banana cinnamon muffins

What can you say about these beauties?! Banana and cinnamon are just meant to be together, and muffins are such a versatile food; breakfast, brunch, snacks, after school treats… the humble muffin can answer many meal time cravings! I hope you like this one!

Ingredients

100 g butter

1 egg

2 overripe bananas

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups self-raising flour

1 cup brown sugar

270ml milk

2 tbs ground cinnamon and 2 tbs sugar to sprinkle

 

Method

Smoosh your bananas in a bowl with a fork until all mushy! In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs and mix. Now you can put in your spices, flour, milk and banana. Mix with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes on a medium speed until all is combined and your mixture looks a good consistency. You want it not hard but not runny, so when a spoon is full and you turn it upside down, it falls off. If you feel you need a little more moisture add a tablespoon of water or milk. These muffins are quite dense. If you want a fluffier muffin, add an extra egg and only use 250ml milk.

 

Once mixed well, spoon into lined muffin cases. Sprinkle the extra sugar and cinnamon over the top and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve! Some people like their banana muffins hot with butter oozing all over, others like them without the extra sprinkle on top – do what you prefer or need and all will be well!

Banana cinnamon muffins

Crunchie Cravers Cupcakes

Most people have a favourite chocolate bar. For some it is the Crunchie bar. I can see why – the golden goodness coated in fabulously smooth chocolate – I suspect that eating a crunchie is like going on a date with George Clooney! In the absence of George, all we have is the chocolate bar. And so here is a fabulous little cupcake for crunchie lovers!

Ingredients

125 g butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla pod scrapings or essence

2 cups self-raising flour

Splash of milk

1 crunchie bar, smashed into pieces with a rolling pin

1 more crunchie bar, broken into bits by hand

A handful of white chocolate chips

 

Chocolate frosting ingredients

3 cups icing powder

125 g butter

3 tbs Hershey’s chocolate spread

4 tbs cacao powder

2 heaped tbs dollop cream

Method

Combine the butter and sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with electric mixer in between. Add the vanilla, flour and milk and electric mix until the mix is smooth. Now add the crunchie and white chocolate chips and stir by hand until well through. Divide into a patty cake tin lined with paper cases. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15-20 minutes.

For the frosting heat the butter in a saucepan. When melted add the icing powder and cacao powder and mix by hand. It will appear lumpy and crazy. Have a sip of gin and don’t fret! Transfer the mix into an electric mixer bowl and add the chocolate spread and half of the icing powder. Electric mix on low for a minute, then add the icing powder in a few portions until all gone. If not thick enough add some more icing powder. Add the dollop cream generously. Keep on the beat for a few minutes until it is the thickness you require. If you would like it shiny, add a splash of hot water – not more than a tablespoon. If you like it matte in appearance, keep on.

Once your cupcakes have cooled, ice by knife or alternatively use a piping bag. These were for a school fete donation, so to jazz them up I used a piping bag. Once iced decorate with chunks of crunchie for effect. How scrumptious!

Crunchie Cravers Cupcakes

Fresh and fabulous lunches

School lunches and work lunches can be painful, but with a few tricks I make them cheap, fresh and fast. Call it laziness or severe budgeting, I like to think of it as being healthy, but my trick is to use seasonal fruit and vegetables, a little carbohydrate and sometimes a small treat. Eating the same thing every day wouldn’t keep my crew happy, so I mix it up a bit. Have the fruit and veg on hand. Sometimes it is as simple as putting an apple, banana, plum and a sandwich in the box. No chopping, no expensive packaged crap, just pure laziness!! Lo!! Here’s some ideas for fresh and fabulous lunches to inspire you!

Here’s light rye sandwich with carrots, sugar snap peas, mandarin, strawberries, blueberries, apple and grapes. My hubby’s lunch has a handful of almonds and dried cranberries too!

This is a simple lunch of apple, plum, grapes, dragonfruit and a honey sandwich.

These lunches  have seasonal fruits and veg of grapes, plums, apples, snow peas, carrots, cucumber, rockmelon, blueberries, some carbs and snacks. We love our dark chocolate and it makes the perfect little snack, same with homemade cookies!

Again with what is in season with some raspberrries, grapes, tomatoes, snow peas, carrots, pear, dried fruit for the boy and some wheat crackers. I was a bit lazy here…..

A little homemade snack is a lovely treat here!

Lots of seasonal fruits and veges going on here with a nice oat roll.

I’m not adverse to white bread! On this day some lucky girl got 2 treats! I’m looking forward to blackberries being back in season!!

So I hope this has in some way inspired you to stop buying the expensive packaged stuff and get lazy like me with whatever you can chuck together! The trick is to have them in the fridge or fruit bowl ready for you to chop or just put in the lunch box. Viva la lazy lunch!!

Fresh and fabulous lunches

Sweet spud bake

This dish came to be because I’d made my Mexican spuds and had leftover roasted whole sweet potatoes. But it is so yummy that now I’ll roast the spuds just for the dish!

 

Ingredients

4 roast sweet spuds

¼ red cabbage

3 tbs rice malt syrup

3 different cheeses, about 100g dotted around

Parsley, chopped rough

 

Method

Wrap your sweet potatoes in baking paper and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for one hour.

All wrapped up and ready for the oven!

Mash the potatoes into a lasagne tray. Drizzle the rice malt syrup onto the top, and then sprinkle with sliced red cabbage. Now add whatever cheese you like to the top.

Mashing the sweet spuds straight into the tray.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for half an hour. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving!

Sweet spud bake

Sicilian chicken with cous cous

This is so simple but bursting with flavour! My family just love the simple cous cous base with the richness of the chicken in it’s sauce. Just perfect!

Ingredients

1 kg chicken thighs, sliced

1 red onion, diced

Few sprigs of basil, chopped

A lemon

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

Fennel seeds

Salt and pepper to taste (I used 15 whole peppercorns)

500 g passata

Olive oil

 

Method

Put a splash of olive oil in a pan and heat. Add the onion, garlic and chicken, frying for five minutes. Squeeze the lemon over the top and add the basil, fennel seeds and passata. Salt and pepper to your liking. Simmer for half an hour and serve on a bed of cous cous!

Sicilian chicken with cous cous