Ago old bran muffins. Nothing much new to report here as I am sure we have all made them and eaten them at one point or another. I haven't made them in, oh, something like 15 or more years. This morning when I was itching to bake something, these are what came to mind. When I have made them previously, I have always used brown sugar to sweeten them. Today, I used part brown sugar and part honey. What a difference in a really tasty way! The honey brings so much flavour to the muffin and if most definitely shines through in the taste. So, next time you are planning to give the bran muffins a miss, don't! They are really fluffy, sweet and just plain ol' delicious. Even better with butter I might add.
Note: If you don't have buttermilk, just add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar to your milk to make it sour. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes, voilà,, buttermilk!
Also, I used whole wheat in this recipe, but you could just as easily use plain flour if it is what you have on hand or prefer.
Tomatoes are appearing everywhere at the moment as they start to come into their season. I have my own outside growing, but a long way off eating just yet. Some years ago, we had spontaneously grown tomatoes from our compost. I believe we had something like 68 tomato plants that summer. There were tomatoes everywhere and we couldn't eat and cook enough of them to keep up with it. This year we have a more sustainable 20 plants growing.
Fresh home grown tomatoes are absolutely delicious and sometimes you do just find tomatoes just like that in the market. That can definitely be said for these delicious tomatoes I used in this quick salad. These were the beef steak tomato variety. These tomatoes were huge, very ripe and delicious.
Note: When grilling tomatoes, it is quite important to use ripe tomatoes. Under ripe tomatoes will not give the same flavour and will not soften to the the degree of the riper ones.
As much as I love to cook, sometimes I absolutely hate it! I mean really loathe the though of stepping into the kitchen and having to make anything at all. Those must sound like really strong words, especially coming from someone who cooks pretty much every single day and on average about 5 or 6 new things a week. There are days of no energy and creativity just goes out the window. Honestly, there are times when getting a sandwich to the table feels like preparing a banquet.. I would lie, if I said otherwise. Last week I had one of those "hating cooking" weeks. I still managed to get through every day and put dinner on the table but with a grunt behind it and huge sigh of relief when it was over. For those of you who cook and are passionate about it, I am sure you can relate to what I am talking about. I think it is like that for most things in life, no matter what they be. For me, my passion is cooking and with passion comes great degrees of love and hate.
Now we are into a new week, I have fresh ingredients and fresh ideas. The kitchen looks more like a place of happiness as opposed to a desperate pit of self destruction. So this week good things just might happen.
Starting with this very easy and tasty grilled chicken dish. To the table in 30 minutes, which is great for those busier days.
Note: I used a cast iron grill for this chicken. It honestly cooks the chicken perfectly as the heat is so even. Not to mention those great grill marks!!!
Also, marinating isn't essential but recommended. You will have a more tender and flavoursome chicken, if you give it an hour to marinade.
Okay, so spring seems to have parted today and left full on summer. After a quick walk down the road to the recycling, I am cooked! What happened to the drizzly days of last week? So, it has to be accepted in these parts, that summer really is just around the corner and there will be endless days of heat and sunshine. It sounds like I am complaining, well maybe a tiny bit. Only because I miss diving into warming food spending time in the kitchen. When the temps heat up, with no AC in sight, the kitchen almost becomes off limits some days. That means more salads, sandwiches and barbecue food.
n the meantime, I know we still will have some cool days ahead because it is only April. As well, the evenings this time of year are still cool enough to make and enjoy hot meals. So, I kept that in mind when putting this week's menu together. Food that can easily be "transitional" shall we say. Warm enough for cold evenings but yet light enough to not keep you in the kitchen for ages.
Have a great week and hope you find some inspirations for your dinner table.
Note: Click the read more to access the links to the recipes
Let's see what the week has in store!
Oven Baked Tomato Chicken
Coconut Creamed Carrot and Ginger Soup
Mascarpone & Green Olive Tagliatelle
Atun Encebollado (Stewed Tuna in Onions)
Snow Pea & Carrot Quinoa Stir Fry
Birthdays are special, it's that simple. Today in our house we are celebrating the very special day of our little girl. Well, maybe not so little any more as 14 seems quite grown up to me. It seems I was only just 14 a few minutes ago. Oh wait, that was just about 30 years ago. Well, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago to me. In any case, I was so happy that she asked for a birthday cake. If some of you follow the blog, you may remember some time back celebrating another birthday with chocolate covered strawberries. Someone in the house doesn't like birthday cake! So, when I have the opportunity to bake a cake, I am all in.
I was asked to make a "funfetti" cake. A what cake? Okay, so maybe I am way behind in the cake scene because funfetti cakes are all over the internet. Little did I know it is just a vanilla cake with sprinkles added to the batter. Easy. So, I headed into the kitchen at the crack of dawn to embark on the funfetti cake. I used a trusty ol' vanilla cake recipe that I have been using for years and years and honestly can't remember where it came from originally. It has changed somewhat from originally making it about 20 years ago, but still the same basic vanilla cake. Personally, vanilla birthday cake is my favourite.
After searching my "sprinkle" basket, I found lots of interesting things. What I didn't find was the right kind of sprinkles to make a funfetti cake. Too late to fix that problem because the cake batter was already made. So, I just dumped in what I had. The little tiny sprinkles that you see on the cake below. Sure, they are going to work right?
Note: It is best to use the long sprinkles as opposed to the tiny dot ones that I used in this cake. They will bleed much more colour into your cake than the smaller ones. Careful not to over mix, or the dye will run too much into the cake.