Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cranberry Muffins

Another fuss-free bake is the trusty muffins.

If it means no mixer required and easy to clean-up, I am so in. But wait, let me clarify that we cannot, absolutely cannot use the mixer when making muffins. Overmixing will bruise the gluten and the muffins will come out tough. And we'll get very upset. Bcos' muffins, they are supposed to be fuss-free aren't they?

One of the questions abt muffins that came to my mind, and I'm sure others do too is what is the difference between muffins and cupcakes. After having baked both, muffins are usually more crumbly, less dense than cakes, although some muffin recipes do result in denser textures.

For me, I prefer my muffins to be crumbly, light, and moist, which is just the recipe I'm sharing with you here. I love having muffins at any time of the day too. If you ask me, I can eat my bakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If only the hubster and the boy can too. Hohoho! :P

Ingredients (All ingredients are at room temperature):
220g self-raising flour sifted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup fresh milk
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup dried cranberries

i. Preheat oven to 180deg C
ii. Mix all dry ingredients together and make a well in the center.
iii. Mix all wet ingredients together and pour into the well. Add the cranberries. Mix until combined but do not overmix.
iv. Place in greased muffin tins or cups and bake for 20minutes or lightly browned.

It's important not to overmix so as not to bruise the gluten. It'll be good to use a flexible spatula and a large enough bowl, when mixing too.

I also realized that when baking muffins, when ingredients used are at room temperature, it makes for a better texture. The batter for this recipe is a little runny compared to other muffin recipes, and I must admit that my panic button was triggered a little. My worry was unfounded as they came out moist and crumbly, just what I like. The muffins also remained moist the day after, which is also quite a rarity for muffins.

I'd usually reduce the amount of sugar used but I did not this time round. Since I used cranberries, the sugar balances the tanginess of the cranberries in the muffins.

So..Care for some cranberry muffins with a cup of hot cocoa on this cool, and wet Saturday afternoon...? :)

Now, i'm also coveting for a crown muffin pan...

Recipe's adapted from here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy Salsa with Fish

Creamy Salsa with Fish

I had one snapper fillet in the fridge and haven't quite decide what to do with it until nad shared this recipe here

Heat some olive oil and butter and pan-fry fillet lightly.

This cream is a result of heating some olive oil+butter and then sauteeing minced garlic, diced red onion, garlic, cut chilli padi, coriander leaves, crushed black pepper, diced tomatoes, lime juice from 1/2 a lime, cream, some water, pinch of salt and some sugar, in the said order. Cook then pour over pan-fried fillet.

Yummy Yummy!

I love fish too. Since I only had 1 fillet in the fridge then, I had to get another fish fillet because I know I can gobble up one all on my own (and the hubster will have none). I bought another fillet, bocourti fillet. I was totally clueless what type it was and I bought it mainly because it was conveniently packed already, and the available choice at CS that day was between bocourti and snapper. Since snapper's already waiting for me at home, bocourti would add variety. and it was on offer.

I later learnt that bocourti is a type of semi-fatty fish. We had 1 snapper fillet and 1 bocourti fillet with the creamy salsa. I liked the creamy salsa with the bocourti fillet better.

I like this recipe a lot! It's creamy AND spicy, thanks to the stars of the dish, the chilli padi.

Fish fillet . Pan fried lightly in olive oil and butter. Set aside.

1 large onion, cubed
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut into 4
5 bird's eye chillies,cut.
Lime juice from 1/2 a lime
100ml cream
Some water
Black pepper
Coriander leaves

Heat some olive oil+butter and then sautee minced garlic, diced red onion, cut chilli padi coriander leaves. After onions turned translucent, add in crushed black pepper, diced tomatoes, lime juice from 1/2 a lime, cream, some water, pinch of salt and some sugar. Cook then pour over pan-fried fillet.

I am so going to make this creamy salsa often. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baked Macaroni with Bolognese Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese

A little mouthful, you think?
Literally it is and gastronomically, you'll have spoonfuls after spoonfuls for a mouthful of it all.

I had my first taste of a similar dish at Eighteen Chefs. I thought it tasted great, but the dish had a twist, it had bird's eye chilli (chilli padi). It was Spicy and Yummy! I thought I could try making it myself, so I had a go at it when a group of friends' came over place to our place many moons back, actually. It was a hit, especially since there's chilli padi in the sauce.

It was very easy to prepare too. For kids-friendly dish, just omit the chilli padi unless you have gregarious, adventurous 'chilli padis' yourselves! :)

Sautee garlic with diced red onions, some chopped coriander and dried oregano and when translucent, add the blended red onions.

Add in the minced meat and cooked till brown

Add in the bursts of colours! (diced tomato, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms an other greens) and cooked for a while

Add in the pasta sauce and cooked till sauce thickens

Grease casserole dish and pour in macaroni

Pour sauce over macaroni and top it with mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven at 180deg for 10-15mins

Yummy! and Easy! :)

These are the approximate measurements that I used since it was basically a throw-in everything kind of dish.

2 garlic - to mince
1 big red onion - to dice
2 tbsp of blended red onion
5 to 6 bird's eye chilli - to cut into smaller pieces
8 cherry tomatoes - to dice
1 cup of minced beef
a few florets of broccoli
Chopped coriander
Dried oregano
1 large bottle of pasta sauce - i used Prego sauce all the time - 1/2 traditional and 1/2 fresh mushroom sauce.
Dash of black pepper
A pinch of salt and some sugar - to taste
Mozzarella cheese - to taste

1. Heat some oil in pan and sautee garlic, chilli padi (if you're using them), diced red onions, chopped coriander and dried oregano till onions become translucent. Then add blended red onions. Cooked till fragrant.
2. Add in the minced meat and cooked till brown. Add in diced tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms.
3. Add in the pasta sauce and cooked till sauce thickens.
4.Grease your casserole dish with butter and pour the macaroni and pasta sauce into the dish.
5. Top with mozzarella cheese and baked in preheated oven at 180deg C for 10 to 15minutes.

The good thing about this recipe is that I can hide broccoli, carrots, and other vegetables in the sauce, as the boy is especially skittish about his greens.

I know I have to work harder to make him take to the greens voluntarily, but while I am *still* trying, this is one other avenue I have to resort to, hide them. :P

And yes, the boy had 3 rounds of the macaroni. :)

Win-win for boy and for mummy.