24 March 2020

Pan Muffins - a super-simple bread alternative!

We're currently experiencing the lack of certain products in the stores, thanks to selfish people panic buying.  My hubby saw this recipe today and thought it sounded such a good idea as a bread alternative, that he immediately sallied forth into the kitchen to give it a go - and do you know, it only worked!

Now I know that there are some people who have never bought flour (and some who are unlikely to ever be able to buy flour, if the panic buying continues), but most people I know will have a fairly decent stock of both plain (all-purpose) and self-raising (self-rising) flour, not to mention a pot of either Greek or natural yoghurt in the fridge.  If you're new to flour and are able to get some, then these little muffins are super-easy for everyone to have a go at.  They don't even need an oven!

They make up into a muffin that you can cut in half, butter and enjoy with cheese or jam, dip into soup or just plain old eat as they are.  The outside is a little bit hard, but no worse than a crusty loaf and the inside is surprisingly fluffy.  The acidity in the yoghurt reacts with the bicarbonate of soda in the self raising flour, which causes the muffins to rise and gives them the fluffy consistency.  Hence, plain flour most definitely wouldn't work, not unless you add a little bicarb!

We had them for lunch today and I can confirm they're extremely yummy with some cheddar and chutney.

PAN MUFFINS (makes 6)

Ingredients :

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil.

Method :

Add the yoghurt to a large bowl and sift in the self raising flour.

Add a pinch of salt and mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Shape into a sausage and divide into 6 equal portions.

Form each portion into a ball and then flatten into a disk roughly the size of a muffin (an English muffin, if you're from America or Canada!).

Leave to rest in a warm place for 15 mins.

Using a large frying pan with a lid, add the oil to coat the bottom of the pan and place over a low heat.

Once the oil is heated (hot, but not smoking) add the muffins (as many as will fit without overcrowding).

Cover the pans and cook the muffins for around ten minutes on each side.

At the end of cooking remove the lids and cook for 1 minute extra on each side, then remove onto a wire rack to cool.

Super tasty served warm with butter.

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23 October 2019

Keema Muttar (or minced lamb with garden peas) Curry

It is possible that you have come here looking for the old recipe for Keema Muttar and are currently scratching your head and thinking "I'm sure this isn't the one!".  Well, you would be right.  I made the old recipe recently and hated it.  I can't help but think I'd written something down wrong, or remembered something wrong (probably those multiple spoons of tomato puree), but the end result was horrid.  It makes me wonder how many of you also tried it and thought the same thing!  I do hope you'll tell me, if that happens in future!

Anyway, I read many, many recipes for Keema Muttar and came up with a new one which I've been refining over several different attempts (as these rather random photographs will attest).  The last incarnation was deemed "this is your best one yet!" by my hubby.  As I happened to agree, it was time to include the recipe on the blog in place of the old unsatisfactory version.

This one doesn't contain any tomato puree, you may be happy to note.  I certainly was.  LOL

This one was "the best one yet!"
I've a couple of points worth noting for you, the first of which is that if you like your curry on the milder side then make sure to remove the pith and seeds from the inside of the chilli before chopping it up.  For the same reason, you may wish to reduce the curry powder down to a mild version and likewise reduce the amount of black pepper and ginger you include.  Made as the recipe states, you'll wind up with a curry that will make your nose run and may even demand some mango chutney alongside as it's a frisky one!  I like to serve a cucumber & mint raita - which I really must blog the recipe for - which does a brilliant job of calming the beast.

Secondly, the amount of peas you include is entirely up to you.  I like a moderate amount of peas, but not too many.  Please don't leave them out entirely or it isn't a Keema Muttar, it's a minced lamb curry.  LOL

Righto then, it's time to head for the kitchen!  


Ingredients :

1 tbsp coconut oil
500g minced lamb
a quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt
half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 red or green chilli, chopped finely
half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 large vine ripened tomatoes, core removed and diced
5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 heaped teaspoonfuls of your favourite medium curry powder
half a teaspoonful of ground coriander
a flat teaspoonful of ground turmeric
1 teaspoonful of ground ginger
1 tablespoonful of Maggi tamarind sauce
300ml water (approx)
50g (approx) of frozen garden peas
2 tablespoonfuls of fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Method :

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over maximum heat and, once the oil is liquid, add the minced lamb.  Fry, stirring and turning the mince, until the mince has all changed colour and any liquid has been steamed off.  Add the sea salt and black pepper and stir through.  Once the lamb has just begun to caramelise, remove from the pan into a bowl using a slotted spoon to retain the oil and rendered fat and set the mince aside.

If there is a lot of fat in the pan, spoon some off until you are left with around 2 tablespoonfuls.  Add the onion, garlic and green chilli and stir to combine.  Fry over a medium heat, stirring often, until the onion is transparent and the garlic is fragrant.  Make sure not to burn any of the garlic, to avoid any bitterness.  Part way through cooking, add the cinnamon and stir through.

Next, add the tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes have softened and begun to break up.

Add the curry powder, ground coriander, turmeric, ginger and tamarind sauce to the pan and stir through.  Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the powders are all well combined with the mixture.

Return the mince to the pan and stir through, making sure to combine the ingredients well and coat the mince with the spice mixture.  Add the water (you may need more, so keep a little extra on hand) and gently stir through.  Allow the mixture to come to a steady simmer for some 20 minutes or so.  As the curry simmers, the sauce will thicken and reduce to your favoured degree.  Some like their curry to be quite dry in which case you won't need any additional water, others prefer a saucier curry.  Keep an eye on the sauce as the curry cooks and be prepared to add a little more water from time to time to keep the sauce how you like it.

A few minutes before you are ready to serve, add the garden peas and fresh coriander (retaining some for garnish) and stir through.  Try not to add the peas too soon, or they will lose their fresh green colour.

Serve with Basmati rice, naan bread and a cucumber & mint Raita.  Don't forget to garnish with a sprinkle of the chopped fresh coriander, just to make it look pretty!

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27 September 2019

Poached eggs made with a poaching pan

Lots of people have asked me about how to use an egg poaching pan. I know that it is perfectly possible to achieve a wonderfully shaped, beautifully cooked poached egg without the use of a cheating pan, but if you consider how few people - these days - have access to REALLY fresh eggs, you probably understand why the interest in the pan.

Plus, for people who just aren't into the mechanics and finer points of poaching an egg, or students, or just anyone who wants an egg that's not fried and doesn't require winkling out from its shell, an egg poacher is the answer.

Here on Granary toast and seasoned with a little Sumac spice

The big advantage is that using a poaching pan means you don't need to worry about how old your eggs are. Obviously, the fresher the better, but if you've got a few that are getting ready to claim their pensions there's no need to scramble them, your trusty poacher will have them ready for you irrespective of their age.

Here, one gorgeous poached egg on potato cakes. Delicious!

Now, it's dead easy - the pan comes with (usually) four little plastic cups which sit inside a metal framework which fits into the top of a small, shallow frying pan type of affair. (In fact, mine can be used as a frying pan if you remove the five bits and pieces - multi-purpose, yay!). In essence, what happens is that you put water into the pan, re-assemble the framework and cups (work of seconds) then, as the water heats (on the cooker hob, or over the campfire - I rule nothing out), you bung your egg(s) into the cup(s), replace the lid and wait (patiently, this isn't a microwave you know) until the egg is set to your preference, whereupon you upturn the cup and so long as you've greased the cup sufficiently, out pops your egg. Yum yum.

Here, on wholemeal toast with fresh Dill.  Gorgeous.
One thing I will make sure to say is that the timings depend upon things like the size of your egg, whether you keep your eggs in the fridge or not (in the fridge means they'll take a bit longer because they're so cold when they arrive in the pan) and how your cooker behaves. So you may find it takes a couple of goes before you get the perfect poached egg. Don't, however, feel downhearted and think you can't do it if the first one or two goes isn't quite right - just adjust the timings accordingly (less time for a runnier yolk, more time for a harder yolk) and try again. :)

Got it? Well, if you need step by step instructions, I've done those for you as well. Read on!


Ingredients :

1 to 4 eggs (basically either as many as you want -v- as many as your pan can hold)
a knob of butter or a tsp of olive oil or coconut oil - a fat of your choice
cold water.

Method :

First of all, you need to remove the cups and the supporting frame, then pour a half inch or so of water into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan over your heat source, replace the frame for the cups, cover and switch on to high.

Take each cup that you'll be using and smoosh whichever your choice of fat is around the inside of the cup - just a bit, just to help the egg back out again when it's done.

Once the water is boiling, remove the lid, replace the cups back into their holes and break one egg into each cup. Replace the lid and patiently wait for the eggs to cook. This is often a good moment to get the toast on.

Now you don't want the water to be boiling hard, but equally you want it to do more than just simmer. Let it get a bit frisky in there. As the eggs cook, they'll turn white and opaque and cook from the outside in. In order to test them, touch the yolk with a rounded knife tip. If it gives but doesn't shimmy like a jelly (which means it needs more cooking) - you need it to be a bit firm - then it's done and you're likely to have a runny yolk. If you like your eggs more set, then the more firm the centre of each poaching egg gets, the harder the yolk will be. I usually wait around 7-9 minutes for a large egg, but then I like my yolks to be gorgeous and runny.

Anyway, when you think you're there, take each cup out (holding the cup with the help of a tea towel usually prevents burns or scalds), run a knife very gently around the edge of the egg to release it - and with a flick of the wrist, upside down it goes onto your toast.

Sprinkle to taste with salt & black pepper and tuck in!

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Plum & Pomegranate Clafouti

This is one of those recipes that I included on the blog but didn't ever complete the post, so it didn't reach the stage of being published.

It reaches back to 2012 (and it's now 2019), so you'll forgive me if I've forgotten the true in's and out's of the recipe, but what I do remember is that the end result was gorgeous.  What reminded me about it was the fact that we're about at the end of plum season again and I really haven't made the most of the little darlings, this year.  Hence, I was pondering on what I could make that involved plums - and suddenly remembered this Clafouti.

Well, here it is.  The recipe itself couldn't be any easier, in fact the hardest bit about it as I recall, was finding the right dish to put it in!  LOL  It certainly didn't stay in that dish for long - we made a serious hole in it that first serving.

Somewhere between pancakes and sponge pudding, a clafouti definitely fits into the "comfort food" brackets that you know I so love.  Go on, indulge yourself!


Ingredients :

500g red plums, stoned and quartered
2 tbsp of runny honey
1 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
1 tsp orange flower water
20g unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 heaped tbsp self raising flour
50g semi skimmed milk
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
a pinch of sea salt.

Method :

Place the plums, honey, pomegranate molasses and orange flower water into a bowl and mix until the plums are liberally coated, then tip the plum mixture into a large wide, shallow tart dish and level out.

Melt the butter either in a pan, or in the microwave.  Take care not to let it burn.

Into a large bowl, place the sugar, eggs and flour.  Whisk together until creamy and whilst whisking, add the milk, yoghurt, salt and melted butter.  Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour the batter over the plums and place into a pre-heated oven at 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is slightly domed and a pointed knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Serve warm with cream.

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