If you follow my blog, you’ll probably have noticed that I like blueberry muffins and am always keen to try out a new recipe. This one is a lower carb higher protein variety. The muffins are nice, but not really muffin-like, they are more like baked oatmeal. Which I like too, so that is not a problem. They taste best when they are freshly baked, they tend to get soggy with storing.
When I make these next time, I will try and swap the flour for protein powder, to make them even more low carb high protein.
Oat-Blueberry Muffin (makes 6)
Adapted from Libelle
150 g light cream cheese
2 tbsp flour
10 tbsp oats
1 tbsp honing
1 sachet vanilla sugar
pinch of cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
125 g blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place 6 paper liners in a muffin tin.
Mix all the ingredients, except the blueberries, in a bowl to a thick batter. Fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter over the muffin holes.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
I discovered the delight of cucumber juice when I drained cucumber for tzatziki. It has a lovely mellow cucumber flavour and is insanely refreshing. And then I saw this recipe. Combining cucumber juice with lemon juice and sugar seemed a bit weird, but I wanted to give it a try and was glad I did: it is delicious! Cucumbery, tart, sweet and incredibly refreshing, so perfect for hot weather.
You can play around a bit with how much water and sugar you add. I like to use less water, so I can finish the lemonade with a generous glug of sparkly water.
I also adapted the process a bit. The original recipe asks you to blend the cucumber to a very fine pulp. This gives you a lot of juice, but also forced you to throw away the pulp. I chose to grate the cucumber, which still gave me enough juice, but also cucumber gratings that I could use for tzatziki. If you leave the skin on your lemonade will be quite green, if you peel the cucumber first, it will get more pale green.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup cucumber juice (from about 450 g cucumber, peeled or unpeeled)
1 cup lemon juice (from about 7-8 lemons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cold water
Grate the cucumber. Transfer the gratings to a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain. Use a spoon to press out as much of the juice as you can. Use the solids for tzatziki.
Pour into a bottle and add the lemon juice, sugar and water. Give it a shake, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool. A few more shakes should dissolve the sugar completely.
Serve with or without ice/sparkly water. And if you feel fancy, garnish with a thin slice of cucumber, a lemon peel curl or a few borage flowers.
Bread pudding contains breakfast-y ingredients like bread, fruit, eggs and milk. So if you don’t go overboard with cream, butter and other things like that, and don’t make it too sweet, it is perfectly acceptable to eat bread pudding for breakfast. Although it would be delicious as dessert too. The original recipe suggested to use cinnamon swirl whole grain bread, but since you can’t buy that over here I chose a slightly more indulgent bread: brioche. But I’ll try it with normal whole wheat bread in the future, I expect that would be nice too. As variation you could use other kinds of fruit. You can remove the crusts from the bread, but I don’t think it is necessary/worth the work and waste.
The result is like bread-pudding, soft and slightly wet, not too sweet, with a nice tartness from the raspberries, and a crispy, slightly caramelized top.
Raspberry Bread Pudding (serves 2)
Adapted from Naturally Ella
4 slices bread
3/4 cup raspberries
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp maple syrup (or use honey instead)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sugar
Overnight or at least one hour before wanting to bake, cut bread slices in half on the diagonal and place in a baking pan that is roughly 15×20 cm. Squash raspberries in between the slices.
Whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the bread and push bread into the mixture so that all the bread is covered with the mixture. Cover and let sit until ready to bake, place in the fridge if leaving overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190C and sprinkle the bread pudding with the sugar. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden and puffy. Leave to settle for a few minutes, then serve.
Finally, we have nice weather, so things start to grow and stuff becomes ready to harvest.
A nifty trick: you normally remove the tiny shoots that develop in the axils of tomato plants to prevent the plant from getting too heavy and tipping over, too keep the plant airy, and to keep a maximum of 5 flowering/tomato developing vines. But I always miss some, which then grow out to branches with some flowers, that make me feel bad to snip off. But a while ago someone told me you can take those cuttings and place them in the earth, so that they will root and grow into another plant. So I tried that, and for now it seems to work.
The weather is still confused. It has been very hot for a few days, and now it’s quite cold again. Most plants do reasonably well, but the tomatoes and courgettes still aren’t too happy.
From left to right: lettuce, cavolo nero, rainbow chard
Not too sweet, moist, fruity and with a lovely texture. They freeze well.
Whole grain oat blueberry muffins (makes 12)
Adapted from Betty Crocker
1 cup buttermilk (or use milk mixed with a few tbsp yoghurt)
1 cup oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
Heat oven to 200C. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups.
In small bowl, pour buttermilk over oats; set aside. In large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar and egg with spoon. Stir in flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt just until flours are moistened. Stir in oat mixture; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm or leave to cool on a rack.
Actually it’s more like cake, but everyone calls it banana bread, so I’ll stick to that. I really don’t like overripe banana, but sometimes we have a few around. They work well in smoothies (you can freeze them in slices for that) but doing something else every once in a while is nice. The cake is really nice and fluffy, just like ‘normal’ cake, but has a subtle banana flavour. Serve it in thick slices, plain or with butter or cream cheese. I found that it got a bit dry after a day, for which popping the slice in the toaster is a great solution. The bread also freezes very well, so that’s an alternative for the toaster. It is also perfect as a quick bake for when people come over unexpectedly, made with ingredients I always have in the pantry, and a bit different than the standard things.
Banana bread (makes 1)
adapted from “Mary Berry’s Baking Bible”
100 g softened butter
175 g sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
225 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper or grease well.
Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
I still love smoothies as a snack. My local supermarket had some smoothie recipes that you could try, and they really gave me some new ideas. It’s not that these ideas are very revolutionary, I just got stuck in my routine of making the same smoothie each time, this made me mix up some other versions. A new thing for me was the addition of oats, I expected not to like it but actually I did. It makes the smoothie more filling, and makes them thicker as well, which is a good thing when you use quite a lot of liquid and no frozen fruit. You do need to blend a bit longer to make sure the oats are ground down completely, otherwise the texture gets a bit weird.
Another thing I recently tasted was carrot-apple-ginger juice. I don’t have a juicer, so I cannot really make it at home, but if you have one, give it a try. It is a really energizing mixture.
Banana and Oats (2 glasses)
150 ml yoghurt
150 ml orange juice
1 large banana
4 tbsp oats
Banana and Kiwi (2 glasses)
150 ml yoghurt
150 ml orange juice
1 large banana
Strawberry and Cherry (2 glasses)
125 g strawberries (frozen)
50 g cherries (frozen)
1 small banana
75 ml yoghurt
100 ml orange juice
4 tbsp oats
Mango, Pineapple and Coconut (2 glasses)
100 g mango
100 g pineapple
150 g coconut yoghurt
To make smoothies, throw everything in a blender and blend well. You can also use an immersion blender. Add some more liquid when the smoothies are very thick, add some extra frozen fruit or oats when they are very liquid. The exact amounts for the perfect consistency depend on what you like, and how much liquid the yoghurt/fruits you use contain.
Everything is growing well. I will be starting to hardening off some plants this week, since the outside temperature seems to stay high enough.
The chilli plants have lots and lots of buds and flowers and small fruit, so I’m expecting to have a generous harvest.
I’m really curious about the strawberries in the hanging bag. I’ve had strawberry plants already for a few years, but the harvest always has been small. I hope this growing method will give me a lot more fruit. The plants seem to have settled in quite well, that’s a good sign for now.