October 16, 2016
February 2, 2015
Sometimes life just runs away with you. I had met up with a friend recently who lives in Australia, and he said he hadn’t seen many recipes from me lately. I realized that I had been neglecting this little blog. Not out of any malice, but just for the fact that I have been so busy with life. All my teacher friends know that the beginning of a new school year is absolute crazy town. So busy with so many new things to set up for the new year. Oh, and did I mention the fact that in August the hubby and I traveled around Cuba for 3 weeks? Yeah, NBD.
But, this time of year had me missing baking, missing blogging, and missing my kitchen. So, if you’re out there reading this: I’m back! And what better way to break back into blogging in Fall than to bake something PUMPKIN! Oh how I’ve missed this!
If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I enjoy a good streusel/crumb topping. On muffins or cake, I don’t discriminate, and a streusel works SO well on top of a spiced pumpkin cake, which comes together to make these Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins. These muffins are literally a little parcel of Fall, scented with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. My kitchen STILL smells amazing.
There really is nothing better than a moist, spiced pumpkin cake batter. I had to put the bowl straight into the sink to stop myself from licking the bowl clean (which stopped me- just!). One of the best things about these muffins really is that gorgeous orange muffin batter. But I didn’t stop there: on top of that irresistibly moist muffin comes that cinnamon scented crumb topping and finally a vanilla laced glaze. Talk about the perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee!
October 4, 2014
February… really? I’ve definitely gotten over that fuzzy feeling you get when it’s cold outside- because it’s absolutely freezing! But while we’ve been pretty luck so far weather-wise (fingers crossed!) I still felt like I needed a little boost. Something to remind me of warmer days and to help me imagine those soon to come.
All these thoughts about the days hotting up got me thinking about the summer and more importantly, our summer vacation. We haven’t been back to the beautiful US of A since our wedding, and this summer it will be a whole three years (gasp!) since then. So of course, heading home to the land of the free in on the top of my list of destinations at the moment. But- the travel monster needs feeding, and we’re hoping to stop over in…
Ah I think I’ve got to stop writing and book our flights!
So let’s make this short, but oh so sweet. This is a fab recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Scones. They are so buttery and flaky and dotted throughout with tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries. What’s brilliant is that they’re also incredibly fluffy inside, not too dense like some store bought scones. They are perfect with a big cup of tea! The other thing that’s great about the scones is that they are so easy. Just pulse the dough in the food processor, fold in the fruit, shape and bake! I have used this scone recipe many times with other fruits as well, and I particularly like the combination of blueberries and lemon zest or blackberry and orange zest.
So, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, whip up some delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Scones for the one you love, and dream of exciting things to come.
July 27, 2014
It’s October folks! Leaves are changing color, the temperature is dropping and the sun sets earlier and earlier each night. But to most of us food bloggery people out there, that means just one thing: our Pinterest feeds are completely pumpkin-fied. I mean, it’s pretty much all pumpkin from August to December isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about which pumpkin based delights to make this year, and it’s really tricky living in the UK as NO ONE eats pumpkin in a sweet way. My husband still thinks pumpkin pie is weird (how I married him I’ll never know!). What better way to fulfill my American autumnal cravings than spiced, super moist bite size muffins that just scream Fall?These muffins are great. Quick to mix together, bake in less than 15 minutes and are oh so satisfying. I love the way that the cinnamon sugar creates this kind of crust that encapsulates the spicy pumpkin sponge inside. These Mini Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Muffins truly are a treat for any occasion, not just breakfast! If they last longer than a day in your house, they can keep in an airtight container for a few days however the moisture can melt the coating. Just toss again in cinnamon sugar to freshen them up a bit!
May 25, 2014
I remember being incredibly nervous the first time I met my one-day In-laws. Would they like me? Would they approve? What could we possibly have in common? I guess that these fears are natural and everyone seeks the approval of the most important people in your partner’s life at that moment in time. But when I get nervous, I get quiet, and this made it extremely difficult for me to share who I was. Let’s just say it wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t great.
The second time was when we went to stay at their house. Just after Christmas, Boxing Day here in the UK, and although I felt more than welcome, I was still slightly paralyzed by the fear of saying something stupid and so I stayed quiet. My future mother in law was so upset that she cried. And I realized how silly I was being. This woman wanted to get to know me and I wasn’t giving her that chance.
The next time we went to visit, I reached out to her in the best way I knew how, by baking for her. I brought my favorite Blueberry Muffins and I discovered that she, too had a love for cooking and baking. The thing we had in common was right in front of me the whole time. We bonded over food magazines and cooking tips and I felt at ease knowing that I could be myself around her. When she asked me for the recipe I was ecstatic, even more so when she told me that she had baked them herself. The streusel topping was our favorite part! Well, and the big, juicy blueberries. Oh, and the tender, moist crumb. I looked forward to all the times we would get to cook together or for each other. But, sometimes life isn’t just what you think it will be.
Less than a year and a half after I met Hilary, she passed away.
It’s hard not to feel cheated by the loss of someone so early on in your life, but I am lucky that I knew her for the short time that I did. Whenever I bake these muffins, I smile and remember an amazing woman, with whom I bonded over baking.
March 5, 2014
Muffins are one of my all time favorite baked goods. Why, you may ask? Well, it’s not exactly the shortest of answers.
1. Muffins can be eaten at any time of the day. While you may get confused, judgey looks from people for eating dark chocolate cake or fudge at 9am (don’t worry, if it’s me you’ll get a high five!), muffins are a perfectly acceptable breakfast, lunch or dinner. Next time, watch those people being all judgey order a double chocolate muffin with their latte! But sometimes, you just don’t want to deal with all that unenlightenment so early in the morning.
2. They are a blank canvas ready to be painted. Find the right muffin batter, mix just about anything into it and you have a personalized treat ready in about 30 minutes. Create till you’ve made a masterpiece!
3. So. Darn. Delicious. Enough said.
These Whole Wheat Carrot & Zucchini Muffins are particularly great because not only are they easy and super yummy, they are pretty darn good for you too. Whole wheat flour, two types of veggies, oats and plump raisins for a hit of sweetness. They have all the best features of a great carrot cake or zucchini bread, all in one little hand held package. They are best enjoyed warm out of the oven or cool the next day. After that they can begin to dry out a bit, so make sure they are kept in an airtight container. I tried these out on my new colleagues at work and they were a hit! They are also a favorite of kids- so many of them enjoy seeing flecks of orange and green in a muffin that tastes so good. Just try them out and see!
September 29, 2013
I’ve never been the biggest fan of donuts; but mini donuts are a different story. What is it about miniature foods that has people eating and craving things that they normally wouldn’t? I’ve seen mini burgers and tacos on restaurant menus, while teeny tiny cupcakes are now a bakery staple. Maybe people think that because they’re smaller, they’re not as much of an indulgence. That doesn’t really matter to me because, let’s face it: miniature foods are just damn cute.
I’ve seen Mini Powdered Sugar Donut Muffins before. They were all over Pinterest a while back. I added them to my ever growing, never ending list of things I want to bake and I finally got around to making them last week. Boy, was it worth the wait.
Like I said, I’m not the biggest donut fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for those little powdered donut holes that came in the white and blue box. We had them in the house sometimes when I was growing up. I really enjoyed the messiness of them more than anything. White-tipped fingers and sugary mustaches were a favorite past-time. The crumbly, softness of the sponge with the snowy, powdered sugar surrounding is such a great combination.
I woke up this morning a bit homesick. I’m not usually that way, but I woke up missing Southern California in the fall. The sun still shining but a chill in the breeze, perfect weather for a hearty Sunday brunch. There’s this place near where I grew up called The Kettle. They’re open 24 hours and you could get anything on the menu at any time. The best thing about The Kettle was that you could choose muffins as your side dish, and bran muffins at that. I know right? Muffins as a side? You might think it’s a bit strange but anyone from the South Bay knows that The Kettle’s muffins could be eaten anytime, anywhere and with anything.
So herein, folks comes my dilemma. Purchase a plane ticket upwards of $1,000 to fly from London to LA to feed my homesickness craving, or attempt the impossible: recreate those sticky-sweet, hearty, chewy, crave-worthy muffins right in my own little London kitchen. If only I could jump on that plane! Well, off to the kitchen.
I didn’t have very high hopes for this experiment. Those muffins are so high up on my favorite foods list that they must be so technically difficult, time consuming and physically draining to make, right? Wrong! They were surprisingly simple and taste just like the original. I told my husband what I was attempting and he told me that I shouldn’t get upset if they didn’t turn out right. The look on his face when he tried them said it all. I’ve done it folks! The weekend just got a bit sweeter and stickier!