Blackberry pistachio friands and happy

sneak peekLast night I went to see Meg Mac with some friends, and it was such a positive night! Rainy Day Women, played just before her and I’m so glad to have discovered them – they’re all catchy songs and enthusiasm, it’s adorable.

And Meg Mac was breath-taking – she’s amazingly talented and so humble. She was genuinely appreciative of the audience and completely adorable. Her performance made me so happy.

Almond berry cupcakes and favourites

unwrappedThese cupcakes are officially my new favourite thing. I love experimenting with lots of different kinds of sweets, but there are a handful that I could cook at the last minute and know that they’d be a hit. There’s mum’s sticky date, cinnamon scrolls and Nutella fudge, just to name a few. These are recipes that I can always rely on to be brilliant. And I know them like the back of my hand, which helps!

Blueberry cranberry muffins and colds

tearIt’s probably not hard to see that I love cooking. One of the things that I love about cooking is the sharing aspect. I love nothing more than foisting food upon my loved ones. So when somebody that I love is unwell, I turn to food for the solution.

My brother’s girlfriend currently has a terrible cold, so I made her an immunity-boosting soup and these muffins.

They’re packed full  of blueberries and cranberries, which have antioxidants, vitamin C by the bucket load.

Lemon zest is great for eradicating toxins in the body. I realise that the sugar is probably counteracting the eradication slightly, but when you’re sick you need comfort food. We can’t be good all the time, right?

You’re doing your body a favour by eating one of these little muffins. Go on, make a batch.

Blueberry cranberry muffins

Makes 24

  • 1 cup frozen blueberriesbite
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp bicarb

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1/3 cup sugar

berriesPut ½ a cup of the blueberries and ¼ cup of the cranberries into a small saucepan with the water and one tablespoon of the sugar. Heat the mixture over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly and squishing the berries as you go. Keep on the heat for 5-8 minutes, until the water has mostly evaporated and you’re left with a small amount of syrup. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. If you want a berry pulp, grab a fork and mash the berries further – I kept lots of whole large chunks in mine, but you can make them whatever consistency you like.

foldCream together your butter and sugar, then add in the vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Mix in the bicarb, then gently fold in the remaining blueberries and cranberries so that their colour doesn’t bleed into the mixture.

Mix together your sugar and lemon zest for the topping. Set this to one side.

sugarSpoon into cupcake cases, then top with 1 tsp of your blueberry cranberry mixture, then sprinkle a generous teaspoon of the lemon sugar topping over the mixture. When the sugar topping bakes, it should caramelise slightly to create a satisfyingly crunchy coating for the top of the muffin.

Bake at 180° for 25-28 minutes.

aboveIf you’re after a healthy beverage to go with these super muffins, try a lemon tea. Enjoy!

preview

Vanilla cupcakes with elderberry and elderflower icing

allAs promised long ago in my weekends away post, here is a recipe using the local produce that I foraged for in Orange. I chanced upon a shop called A Slice of Orange (which was completely adorable, given we were in Orange in NSW) and found an array of locally sourced foods. They ship all across Australia as well, which could be dangerous for my bank balance!

The purchase I was most excited about was the Elderflower and elderberry cordial! Having only learned that elderberries existed when I lived in England three years ago, they still have a shiny novelty factor for me. The boy’s mother spoke of making elderberry wine and picking elderflowers – to my knowledge, Sydney-siders miss out on these delightful escapades!

Brownie cheesecake slice and remembering

sliceMother remembered on Thursday morning that she had to take a slice into work on Friday. She left me a note asking me to make one for her. Of course I obliged; being unemployed and sole contributor to my baking blog, this request was perfectly tailored to my situation!

She needed something easy to transport (cupcakes are out), something that would feed a group easily (pots de crème are out) and something delicious. I’ve made brownies before and they’re delightful, but I felt as though she needed something a little more show stopping to tempt her co-workers.

Yoghurt Berry cake and cooking credentials

You may be reading this blog wondering what credentials I have to be advising people about their cooking (valid question) – the answer is: none. I have no formal culinary qualifications, I just love it. I’m a strong believer in doing what you love – I love writing, pretty things and cooking, so writing a cooking blog seemed like a sensible choice.

flowersWhen I say cooking, I mainly mean baking. I have a near insatiable sweet-tooth, so I gravitate towards cooking things which are sweet (and often visually pleasing!) I will try to blog about savoury dishes as well, but I can’t promise they’ll be exciting – nobody gets excited over spag bol!

Cooking (baking especially) should make you happy. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. There are always going to be times when you can’t fathom getting home from work/uni/whatever else you do to slave over an oven, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Find recipes that excite you. Experiment. Make something up! You don’t have to be a professional to make something amazing.

Not everyone gets as excited about cooking as I do, but I like to think that they have it within them somewhere.

A friend of mine loves coming to my house because there are always left overs. She goes crazy over a simple chocolate slice or mashed potato, but refuses to believe that she can replicate them in her house.  She can. I’m going to make her understand this even if it pains me! You can cook as well.

This recipe is super simple and works warm or cold. It’s great for entertaining – it’s quick to make and it makes people happy! It works with most fruits as well. If you don’t have fresh berries, use frozen ones. Nectarines cut into wedges look really effective if you use a lamington tin instead of round cake tin.

sliceSuper simple Berry Yoghurt Cake

  • 125g butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Icing sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 23cm round cake tin.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

mixtureAdd eggs, beating to combine. Mix in your plain flour, then the yoghurt. If you only have greek yoghurt in the fridge (like I did), add a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture as well. Add the self-raising flour and mix until combined. This is quite a thick mixture, don’t worry if it’s a little hard to mix. Spread mixture into your greased cake tin.

tinThe cake tin I’m using has been well-loved. It has held many of my mother dearest’s crème caramels and cakes. As a result, it’s a little worn (that’s being polite) and has a tendency to cling onto cakes when you want to remove them. To combat this I simply trace the base of the tin onto baking paper, cut the round out and place it over the greased base. Problem solved.

frozen berriespressPress a few berries gently into the mixture, but sprinkle most of them across the top of it and then pat them down gently with your hand. If your oven is prone to over-browning things, cover the cake with tin foil two thirds of the way through cooking.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

cake
Remove from oven and let it stand for ten minutes before serving. Sprinkle with icing sugar and add a dollop of cream or yoghurt to finish.

off centreDon’t worry if you take this cake out a little too soon, my favourite part of any cake is the squidgy bit right in the centre where the heat hasn’t completely cooked the mixture. I’m a sucker for cake mixture, and the centre of this cake is glorious!

trio

 

 

 

 

Your finished product should look even better than mine because I foolishly used 2 cups of plain flour instead of one plain and one self raising. It should look more like this (I instagrammed this cake when I made it about a month ago.) We all make mistakes!