In Hel’s Kitchen #3

It seems that every time I talk about starting a new feature on here it is the kiss of death for it! Remember Design classics, Slow Cooking Sunday and In Hel’s kitchen anyone? Note to self – I must try harder!

This post has been in my drafts since May (!!) because I have not got my act together and managed to take any photos of our meals. So instead I will talk about food a bit randomly in bullet points, just because food is my favourite thing. Especially the kind of food that comes covered in chocolate!

    • Lately I have become addicted to eating fresh mangos. So good topped with natural yogurt and a little runny honey. Mmmm, mangos…Yes, she does like the mangos

  • Related – I made these Deliciously Ella lollies. They were good. I used normal cows milk because I could not be bothered to open a can of coconut milk for just five tablespoons BTW.
  • I work a lot of late shifts, so to make my life easier during the summer months, I would typically cook up a load of grains (usually quinoa), wash and chop up loads of lettuce and lots of peppers, carrots, celery etc, all in advance ready for me to chuck together on a plate, with maybe some feta, halloumi, a can of tuna or salad bean mix and whatever dressing I could be bothered to whip up when I get home. Easy peasy.
  • I am also eternally grateful for my slow cooker. I use it at least once a week. I am also thankful that I invested in a decent rice cooker five years ago. My rice cooker has a huge hole in the lid from where I dropped it, the inner bowl is dented out of shape from where I dropped it and will sometimes get stuck in the cooker (yeah, you could say that I am a bit on the clumsy side!) But somehow against all odds it still works!
    When I come home from work after a late shift, straight away I will bung some rice (or quinoa) in the rice cooker, and if I am heating up a defrosted-here’s-one-I-made-earlier-meal instead of using my slow cooker, I bung that in a saucepan and stick it on the stove to warm up at the same time, then go upstairs and get changed into my pj’s, and then by the time I come downstairs, dinner is usually ready. Boom!
  • We also eat a lot of cous cous these days because its so convenient. Chilli or curry with cous cous anyone? I like to break the food rules from time to time. And make my life easier.
  • You might be fooled into thinking that I have got my meal planning game sorted. That is not the case. I do try, but I am just not the organised/type A/super woman/homemaking machine that the internet (or rather a lot of lifestyle blogs and Pinterest) wants me to be. I love this post from Posy Gets Cosy about the pressure we put on ourselves to feed our families with nutritious meals all planned weeks in advance. The comments on the post are good too. There is a lot of wisdom on there.
  • I baked two successful (refined) sugar-free chocolate cakes. First this chocolate cake (not pictured) and these peanut butter brownies (pictured in the photo below). Both were very tasty, and chocolaty enough to kid myself that they were a naughty treat. I am not sure how healthy they are (as honey and dates are still sugar and I think cocoa powder is pretty fattening) but I am definitely going to make these again.
They might not look pretty, but they tasted good!

They might not look pretty, but they tasted good!

…….I guess you could say this post is a little round up on how we eat in my household in spring/summer. Now that the temperatures are cooling, I am looking forward to cooking and eating more soups, stews and lots and lots of stodge! Mmmmm, stodge!

In Hel’s Kitchen #2

Here is what we have been scofing down lately –

  • As I work until 8 pm on average four nights a week, We eat this meal quite often. Its a favourite in our house because its quick and easy to prepare, foolproof and super tasty. (I never bother adding the extra 1/4 cup of water BTW). We eat one meal of this with brown basmati rice and freeze the other portion to have on Tacos Tuesdays!!! Thank you Instagram for introducing me to this institution! Shove some lettuce then shredded salsa chicken mix into a taco shell and top with cheese, bite into it and then pick up the broken taco pieces off your top, the table, the floor and eat them up. Messy food on Tuesdays is the best!

    Wow, look at my food styling and photography skills. Salad still in the spinner, cheese in the box grater, taco shells still on oven tray and bowl of un appetising looking slop. Wow, just wow!

    Wow, look at my mad food styling and photography skillz. Salad still in the spinner, cheese in the box grater, taco shells still on the oven tray and a bowl of brown unappetising looking slop. Wow, just wow!

  • When I first left home, before I started worrying about processed foods, I cooked a lot of frozen things covered in breadcrumbs. The only thing that I really miss eating from those days is Spicy Bean Burgers (and maybe chicken Kiev’s, a guilty, trashy, food pleasure of mine!), so I have been on the hunt for a good homemade bean burger recipe for a long time. I have made a few duds over the years, let me tell you! I find that veggie burger recipes that involve breadcrumbs just taste bland with a horrible, overpowering soggy bread flavour. Yuck. Plus there are loads of over complex veggie burger recipes out there – like this one that involve hours in the kitchen and tons of washing up! I finally hit the bean burger recipe jackpot with this one from Moosewood Low Fat Favourites. Its so easy and tasty. Win, win! And wowzers, Rob does not complain about the lack of beef in his burger! I just fry up my onions etc, then bung all the ingredients (halved, using just one can of kidney beans) into my food processor, wiz it up, shape them and fry them, then enjoy them with salad for tea and the left overs for lunch the next day.beany babies
  • This recipe here from the Moosewood resturant (again) was very easy to cook and the most hippy chow type meal that I have made in a while. I felt some serious good vibes from all those greens, legumes and grains (I served ours with bulgar wheat) man. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo. I was too busy making peace signs and sticking it to the man, man.
  • This tamale bean pie recipe pictured below, that I tore out of the Sainsburys magazine ages ago, and now cannot find online or anything like it. Although this recipe here has similar ingredients and what not, but is done in the slow cooker with the cheese in the bottom, rather than the top like mine (so not at all like it then!). This is yummy, proper, stodgy comfort food that deserves its very own post. I will sort one out eventually. By eventually, I mean next year probably!

    Yet more of my award winning food photography

    Yet more of my award winning food photography

  • On my never ending quest to make the perfect sugar free oaty energy type bar, I made these healthy apple flapjacks. Which were not quite as good as this favourite bake of mine. I felt they were missing something. Maybe a little butter or marg and some sugar maybe? But still, it was an healthier acceptable alternative and I used up some apples that were about to turn.

Its Meat Free Week this week and Rob and I are taking part as I love a challenge! I always do dry January, Sober October and took part in the blog every day thing a few years back, and not forgetting my upcoming 35 mile bike ride (which I might have mentioned once or twice on here!) Are you taking part in meat free week? I will do a little blog post about our week and reveal if we have made it all the way. Or rather, if I make it all the way, as Rob has already cracked and eaten a ham and Philadelphia wrap for lunch!*

*Amendment – I stand corrected. Rob is not taking part. He didn’t crack at lunch time because he is not taking part.

Update 13/05/15 – I ate no meat for a week and a half in the end. I would have been happy to carry on indefinitely, but Rob wanted a chicken curry and I could not be bothered to cook two meals. We still have meat free meals 3-4 times a week though.

In Hel’s Kitchen #1

I love food, cooking and eating.

Maybe, just maybe, I love the eating part a little bit too much for my own good!

Never mind eh! Even though I love talking about food, I don’t really like blogging about food. I find typing up the ingredients and method really tedious. And, if Im honest, my posts are dull, too long and my food photography is lacking good lighting, pretty props and all the rest of the stuff that passes as good blogging!

But I still want to share the best of the wholesome, cheap ‘n’ easy recipes that I cook on here. So I thought I would start a new series similar to my Lately# posts where I just round up my thoughts and share a link and a picture or two.

I know plenty of other bloggers do these type of posts (thanks for the inspiration gals) and I really like them. I always click on the links to see if I fancy trying out the recipes and I love having a nosey at other peoples meal planning and daily eating habits. So its only fair that I share mine in return!

Plus, this is a quicker, lazy way of food blogging and I have been dying to drop Hel’s Kitchen as a blog post title (snortle!). Win win!

I don’t know how frequent these posts will be, time will tell. But for now here are some of the highlights of what we have been stuffing our faces with in late Jan/early Feb –

  • This vegetarian chilli from Whats Gaby Cooking. Very tasty. Next time I make it I will use less stock though. I actually had some fresh limes for once (Mum sent them over) and the freshly squeezed lime juice definitely adds an extra something to the dish.
  • Another healthy oaty snack bar to satisfy my sweet tooth from Ellie Krieger. Don’t bother making these if you do not have a food processor.snack tretch
  • Another veggie chilli from Bessie’s Veggie Food. I messed mine up by adding too much chilli powder. (Whoopsie! Think runny noses and tears while eating, not a good look!) But I will make this again. Its quick, cheap and filling. And it makes a huge amount. You will be eating this for days.chili
  • This two ingredient pizza dough. I was intrigued to see how it works, and sure enough it does make a nice enough pizza dough, thats great for days when you have no time to let a dough rise etc. I made mine with Lidl’s Greek style yogurt (as its cheaper than the traditional Fage Greek yogurt) so my dough was very heavy and dense (still tasty though). Next time I will try it with the real deal strained Greek yogurt to see if it makes any difference.
  • Yet another chilli recipe! This chicken barley chilli from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. One meal eaten and two meals frozen, for when I am working lates, all from two chicken breasts. Boom!
  • And finally as a little treat, just to maintain our podgy figures in order to keep warm during Februarys big freeze, these cocoa powder brownies from Smitten Kitchen found via The Wednesday Chef. Mine were a little crunchy on the top, but still very moreish!

I promise you that we do not just eat chilli’s, pizza and brownies! These were just my favourite new recipes that I have cooked recently. Honest!

Although, to be fair, I would be quite happy existing on a diet of chilli, pizza and brownies!

Two Healthy Snack Bars

Rob and I have major sweet tooths. I don’t know what it is, but after eating something savoury, we immediately start craving something sweet. Even if we are full.

We both grew up being told that once we have eaten all our dinner, we can have our pudding. (So basically, even if we are stuffed, we will still force a pudding down!) Sugary sweet things will always be a treat to me. And a necessary. Blame it on the parents, eh!

Over the last few years, my baking habits have changed. I no longer bake sugar laden cakes every week. Back in the heady days when I first discovered my love of baking, I was eating a slice of homemade cake nearly everyday. No wonder I went up a dress size!

I had to admit that all the sugar, butter and buttercream (which is again is just sugar and butter) in and on the cakes was not doing me any favours. And my lack of exercise, but thats another story.

Slowly, but surely, I cut down on making cakes. It breaks my heart that I don’t get to practice my main hobby and use my Kitchenmaid mixer as much as I would like too. But Spinderella will last me a lifetime, and I would like a long lifetime in which to use her.

I still really want sugar though! I want something sweet ALL THE TIME!!!! I am addicted!

At first, instead of cakes, I baked flapjacks and snack bars. I absolutely adore flapjacks and they are one of my favourite foods. But they still contain lots of sugar and butter. So the hunt for healthier alternatives was on.

Recently I have been pinning away recipes like a mad thing, check out my board full of healthy snack bars! Thank you internet for providing me with plenty of recipes based around oats, using natural sweetners like maple syrup, honey, dates or bananas instead of sugar, and coconut oil or peanut butter as a fat!

Here are two of my recent favourites that I want to share. For both of these recipes you need a food processor. Sure, it would be nice to have a Magimix or a Kitchenmaid model, but there is no way on earth I would pay £200+ for something that does the same job as my little old £30 job from Phillips. It might not win any awards for design, nor can it manage to grind oats into a fine flour as required in some of the recipes that I have tried (dammit!). But it can cobble together some houmous, veggie burgers and manage to smoosch up a few dates and thats all I use it for! If you don’t have a food processor you might be able to manage making these with a steady hand and a hand blender. Let me know if you can, as I am always looking for ways to reduce my washing up!

The first is this recipe from The Minimalist Baker. Its so moreish and easy to make. Its a bit of a bugger to spread out in the tin to set, but it works well with both Medjool dates and the cheaper Deglet Nour ones. I know as I have tried out both. Its a perfect treat for the 3pm afternoon energy slump and will keep you going until dinner time thanks to its slow burning carbs and all that other good stuff. Try them, you won’t regret it!peanut butter bar
The next recipe is more of a formula than a recipe. I found it here on The Kitchn. I used 1 cup of Medjool dates, 1 cup 50/50 of raisins and cranberries and 1 cup 75/25 of almonds and sunflower seeds. Plus about a tablespoon or so of cocoa powder. Because we all know that added chocolate makes things better.fruit n nut

I mixed my fruits, nuts and seeds purely to keep costs down. Dried fruit and nuts are not cheap, but I am a savvy shopper and I usually get mine from Lidl, Aldi and Grape Tree rather than your traditional health shops. Plus I am sad because I always request my giant tubs of Manuka honey, coconut oil and natural peanut butter for birthday and Xmas presents. Edible bulk buy presents FTW!

Now on to the dates. I was never a fan of dried dates before. They always made an appearance at Xmas time when I was a kid, in those funny oblong containers with their strange plastic stick things to eat them with, and were hard and horrible. But once I tried Medjool dates I was a fan! How can something that is grown on a tree taste so rich, sweet, indulgent and vanilla-ery? I can see why they were called the fruit of the Kings!

Yes, Medjool dates are more expensive, but they are worth it. I have shopped around and the cheapest that I have found is in Sainsburys at £2.15 for 200g. They are in the fridge next to the fruit BTW, in case you head over to the dried fruit baking section like I did. Buy the organic dates and feel smug while you eat your homemade chocolaty energy bars that taste just like expensive Nakd and Trex bars etc!

Going back to all the recipes that I have pinned on Pinterest. To be honest, I don’t think I am going to bother making any of the other date based energy bars, as they are more or less the same recipe again and again, and this recipe/formula is pretty much perfect for me. The fruits, seeds and nuts I have used are all my favourites and they blend together perfectly for just the right level of virtuous sweetness, with a subtle hint of chocolate. Yum.

Vegetable Cobbler

As promised here is a recipe. Finally!

As I have mentioned before, I love cooking and trying out new recipes. I am currently compiling a recipe folder (a never ending project that I have been working on for about six years) and I find most of my favourite recipes from magazines, blogs, the Good Food website and sometimes written in cheap non-celebrity-chef recipe books.

I have a habit of flicking through recipe books in charity shops and discount bookstores, and if anything catches my eye, I will purchase the book, copy down or scan the recipe, then donate it back to charity once I have finished with it. Although I have been known to tear a few pages out of cheap books when I am feeling lazy! Sorry to all book lovers out there!

I found this recipe for vegetable cobbler in a book that was 99p from The Works called Cookery for Beginners. The recipe caught my eye because the sauce involved yogurt, orange juice and milk.

I thought to myself – how can that work? I figured that it would either result in one of the worst things I have ever eaten, or go the completely other way and result in something really rather tasty!

cobblers

Thankfully through some kind of cookery alchemy, it turned out to be the latter – a really hearty, yummy dinner. The first time I made this I was gobsmacked as Rob asked for seconds (there were none) and then asked if he could have it for dinner again the next day!

Result! Its not often I hear this kind of praise about my cooking from him. And least of all about a meal that does not involve any meat! So me, being the perfect stepford wife, dutifully made it for him again the following week. The first time I made this I halved the original recipe. The second time I made it, I made two thirds of the stew (so we could have seconds – oink, oink!) with the cobbler mix halved and I did not have any courgettes.

Are you still with me? The point is that this recipe is very forgiving. You can adjust it to your own taste. More sauce? Thats fine. Lots of carrots and leeks but no courgette? No problem. It all goes down the same way I say. And who can be bothered with weighing vegetables? Not me thats for sure.cobblers again
Anyways here is the original recipe that serves 4 that you can adjust to your households appetite –

Ingredients

1 large onion
225g leeks
450g carrots
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
225g courgettes
25g butter
1 tbsp oil
25g plain flour
2 tsp mustard (I used around 2 tbsp of mild Dijon mustard. It was all I had in the fridge)
150ml orange juice
300ml milk
150ml natural yogurt

Scone Topping
225g self raising flour
1 tsp mustard powder (I used 1 tsp of readymade Dijon again)
50g margarine
75g grated cheddar cheese
150ml milk

Directions

  1. Chop the veg. Leeks into 2cm chunks. Carrots into 5mm slices. Peppers and courgettes into 1cm chunks or there about. (Or just chop your veg that you have guesstimated the weight of into tiny bits and hope for the best like I do!)
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat, add the veg and fry it for around 10mins until softened, then sprinkle over the flour and cook for 1 min stirring.
  3. Add mustard, orange juice and milk. Increase heat and stir continuously until thickened. Then reduce heat and cover for 10 mins until veg are tender.
  4. Meanwhile make the topping. Sieve flour into bowl, add mustard and margarine and rub in until resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in cheese, then add milk, stirring with a knife to form a dough.
  5. When veg in pan are tender add the yogurt and transfer to oven proof dish.
  6. Roll out topping and cut into rounds (I can never manage this, I alway make it too wet, so I just dollop mine in!) and arrange around bowl in a circle and brush with milk (again, I never manage this part!).
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 220degC/425degF/gas 7 for 25 minutes until scones are puffed up and golden.

Slow Cooking Sunday – Squash, Sweet Potato and Harissa Soup

Before I start this post, I would like to say that I am available to hire for food styling and food photography. Look at my mad skillz below! So much effort with the sprig of parsley, eh!

Wow, its been a while since I last posted a slow cooker recipe. I still use my slow cooker regularly, I just don’t bother to photograph and blog the meals. Plus most meals are unphotogenic slop.

I bought this book for cheaps recently, and it has some great soup recipes in it. Here is my recipe for a tasty soup which I have slightly adapted from a recipe published in it.soupySquash, Sweet Potato and Harissa Soup

Ingredients
1 chopped onion
1 chopped stick of celery
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoons of harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like things!)
Around half a large squash
2-3 sweet potatoes
1 chopped carrot
700ml-1 litre vegetable stock (I used boullion powder)

Method
Put all the ingredients into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Once cooked blend with a hand blender until smooth and serve.
Serves 4-6
soupy soupy

Parsnip and Banana Cake

My parents gave me a big bag full of parsnips recently that they had grown on their allotment. Thanks to their generosity and green fingered skills we have been eating well lately. I have made the obligatory parsnip soup, a sunday roast with lots of roast parsnips and yet more parsnip soup (I love homemade soup!)

The other day I still had a few left over parsnips, plus a few sad manky brown bananas in my fruit bowl waiting for me to take them to the compost bin, when I suddenly had one of those hey presto moments and thought to myself – boom! Lets make a parsnip and banana cake!

I did a quick Google and found a few recipes online, but in the end I made my own version based on the recipe for carrot cake from my favourite vintage cookbook The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.cake1We both enjoyed this cake, and despite the burnt looking edges it was a very moist and moreish cake. This cake would be lovely with a nice cream cheese frosting on top. I didn’t bother to ice it as I wanted to save a few calories for our eternal (half arsed) dieting quest. Plus the only cream cheese I had in my fridge was the low fat kind with garlic and herbs.

Its really annoying, I find that my oven makes all my cakes have a brown and sometimes dry crust. I have tried using both the fan and conventional settings, but I still get brown edges. I want to bake more photogenic looking cakes for my blog! Maybe I should clean the oven! A word of warning – if you ever come around my house for tea, my cakes taste better than they look, honest!

Ingedients
225g Self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g light brown sugar
75g sultanas (or nuts or choc chips etc. Its up to you, go crazy!)
100g grated parsnip (about 3-4 medium parsnips)
2 ripe bananas
2 medium eggs
150ml oil

Method

  • Grease and line a 20.5cm (8 inch) round baking tin
  • Sift flour and baking powder into your bowl or mixer bowl
  • Add the sugar, sultanas, parsnips, broken up bananas, eggs and oil.
  • Turn on you mixer or beat by hand or with a hand whisk until mixed together nicely.
  • Pour into tin.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180° for about 1 hour.
  • Cool, ice if you want, slice and enjoy.

cake2

Chocolate Weetabix Slice

Once upon a time, back in the noughties, there was a young (ish) girl called Helen, who once she had her kitchen decorated, started to discover the joys of cooking and baking and she (finally) came over all domesticated. She started to buy and collect recipe books, read food blogs, and she collected lots of recipes that she had torn out of magazines and printed off the internet.

Fast forward six years later to January 2014, where Helen finally got around to making one of the recipes she had printed and had stuck into her (still) unfinished craft project of a homemade recipe book.

She made a recipe she printed from the internet that she thought sounded intriguing. It was for a chocolate, cakey, slicey type thing with Weetabix™ as an ingredient. Helen did not know what to expect when she made this slice, but when she made it she was so pleasantly surprised that she decided to blog about it!weety sliceRight, thats enough heartwarming story telling. Im going to stop blogging about myself in third person and talk straight.

Its hard to describe the taste and texture of this slice, but I would say its somewhere between a  chocolate Hobnob biscuit and a rocky road slice. Plus this is so easy and fun to make (I enjoyed the crushing the Weetabix part! I am easily entertained!) Go on, give it a go, its a good way to have your Weetabix!!

I have made this tray bake twice now and both times Rob and I have practically inhaled it. I have tried and tried to find the original link for this post, but with no luck. All I know is that it was from an Australian site back in 2008 and if you Google for similar recipes, they all seem to be from down under. Scrap that, I found it! I have posted the original recipe on here with a couple of small changes.

weety 2Ingredients
60g dark chocolate
110g butter
1 tablespoon (20ml) golden syrup
3 Weetabix (about 48g total)
100g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) desiccated coconut
110g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour

Chocolate Icing
140g (1 cup) icing sugar
10g (1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
5g (1 teaspoon) butter, softened
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
6g (1 tablespoon) desiccated coconut, for sprinkling on top of slice

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter together over a low heat, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from heat.

In a bowl crush the Weetabix by breaking them up with your fingers, add the coconut, brown sugar and flours and stir until combined.

Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Firmly press the mixture into a slice baking tray lined with baking parchment using the back of a spoon and brute force.

Bake slice for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180º.

Next make the chocolate icing while slice is baking.

Remove from oven and cool for one minute before spreading with icing. Sprinkle with extra tablespoon of coconut.

Allow slice to cool to room temperature before cutting into pieces to serve. Store slice in an airtight container. Suitable to freeze.

Chocolate Icing
Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium bowl. Add butter and milk and stir until smooth. The icing should be quite thick at this stage; however, it will spread easily when placed on the hot slice. This part is a bit tricky, but persevere. If you want to skip this part thats fine. The first time I made this I did not bother with the icing. It does not add much, it only makes it a bit sweeter really, if thats your thing.

Tatties and Apps

So while the parents are hastily harvesting their allotment goodies before anymore sticky fingered, 5-a-day munching crims can pinch them, I currently have a glut of veg in my house. Its mostly potatoes and sweetcorn, no marrows this year TFFT – Does anyone have any good recipes involving six corn on the cob for 2 people? Im scratching my head on that one!

Luckily potatoes last ages (if the dirt on them is dry/cleaned off and they are stored in a cool dark place), and Rob and I have recently developed a taste for homemade potato cakes. Fried carb cakes FTW!

Potatoes
From this  – (please excuse the dodgy picture taken with my phone!) giant heapTo this
pot cakesI saved some left over mash from our dinner the night before and used this recipe halved. If I had known how easy potato cakes were to make, I would have stopped buying the pre made supermarket versions years ago! Plus I served them with fried eggs from our next-door neighbours free range back garden hens no less.

Unfortunately the value brand baked beans from Aldi are ruining my smug foodie-type moment here. Ah well!

Apples
From thisappsTo thisapp cakeWhy yes, its more cake!

We like cake in our house. We don’t care if they are made from potatoes or apples, as long as its CAKE!!!!
Technically the apples are from one of my parents allotment pals neighbouring plot. He has a well established bramley tree with more fruit than he can cope with (there are only so many apple crumbles he can manage apparently) and he told my parent to help themselves.

THEY HELPED THEMSELVES WITH HIS PERMISSION! Sorry, I just had to shout that out.

I found the recipe in a Macmillan coffee morning booklet from 2008, and I even managed to man up and deal with my irrational hatred of rubbing fat into breadcrumbs to make this cake. It was worth it.

Raspberry Bakewell Muffins

Its been National Cupcake Week all this week and to celebrate it I baked some muffins!

Confession time – I feel a bit of a phoney. I have a blog, I love baking, I own a dreamy pink Kitchenaid (I know – I am a lucky gal!) But I don’t bake as much as I used too. Its because this year Rob and I are trying to cut back on treats and lose a little weight. Which we have both achieved, whoop!

So as much as I would love to fill my blog content with scrumptious cakes and bakes, I just cannot justify the sugar content.

Plus, my food photography leaves a lot to be desired!

If I do bake anything these days, it is either a cake to give away, or some kind of oaty, peanut buttery, seeded, low sugar, energy bar type of thing. But to honour National Cupcake Week I baked muffins. Basically a cupcake without the icing.

I think the lines are very blurred between cupcakes and muffins. Muffins tend to be quick, one bowl mixes, and cupcakes tend to be elaborate recipes with a lot of faff, but using more or less the same ingredients as a muffin. Does a muffin become a cupcake as soon as you pipe a shedload of buttercream on it? Or if you don’t ice a cupcake do you call it a muffin? Who knows or cares really?

Personally if it was up to me, I say lets just stop labelling small cakes as muffins or cupcakes, and unify them by calling them muffcakes. Because the name always makes me giggle. And yes, I am stupid and immature.

Anyways, here are my muffcakes!muffcakes

Its another Instagram snap I’m afraid. They did not hang around long enough for me to get my proper camera out to take a snap! To be honest I didn’t intend to blog about them, but because Rob declared that these are the best thing I have baked in a long time, I decided to share them.

I really must have been depriving the poor boy of treats if he thinks these are great! Tee hee! Personally, I don’t think you can better a dark, moist, fudgey chocolate cake, but Rob raved about these and they are on his favourite list.

He is easily pleased when it comes to cake. Or bored of oaty, peanut buttery, seeded, low sugar, energy bar type things!

To make them I used this recipe here, then added my own spin with some frozen raspberries (still frozen) and some almond essence in the mix to make my Raspberry Bakewell muffcakes! Yum!