Mocha Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve been trying to be healthy, but the inevitable chocolate / cake craving rears its head from time to time.  My usual go-to recipe when this happens is my Chocolate Fudge cake.. But I decided I’d make a healthier version of chocolate cake, in the form of chocolate muffins.  The addition of coffee was an afterthought, but they turned out tasting really nice.  They’re mocha-ish and the tang of the cream cheese frosting works well with the flavours.

Ingredients

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 8 fl oz. milk
  • 3 fl. oz. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg

Recipe

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dissolve the coffee granules in 2 tablespoonfuls of boiling water, and leave to cool.
  3. Measure out the milk, vegetable oil and egg into a jug and whisk lightly to combine.  Add the coffee to this.
  4. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180’C for 20 – 25 minutes.

Frosting

To make the frosting (optional), you will need:

  • 1 tsp soft (cream) cheese
  • water (optional – I used this to make the icing more runny.  Use as much as you want)
  • icing sugar – use as much as you want to get the consistency right.

Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar and water together until you get the consistency of icing you prefer, and then drizzle 1 tsp over each muffin whilst they’re still hot.  Leave the muffins to cool, and the icing will set.

Enjoy!

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Healthy Eton Mess

So one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more healthy.  I’m pretty good at eating the 5-a-day of fruit and veg (I sometimes eat up to 7-a-day without noticing, as I use fruit as a snack through the day).  However, I’m fond of nice desserts and cakes… I don’t have them often… But they call my name in supermarkets (and I ignore them to the best of my ability).  I recently craved an unhealthy dessert – Eton Mess – so instead of giving in to it, I decided to make my own healthy version, which would take the edge off the craving.

Healthy Eton Mess (makes 1 serving)

1 digestive biscuit

1 small meringue nest

handful of raspberries / summer berries

125g natural yoghurt

Recipe

  1. Crush the digestive biscuit, and place in the bottom of the bowl (I used a wine glass because it looked prettier!).
  2. Crush the meringue, enough to create small chunks, but not too small, as they will dissolve in the yoghurt otherwise.
  3. Mix the berries with the yoghurt, and at the last minute, add the meringue pieces.
  4. Spoon carefully on top of the biscuit base, and serve immediately, with a garnish of berries on top.

This was super easy and quick to make, and I felt much better afterwards for not eating quite so much fat and calories as a normal Eton Mess would’ve served me, through all that thick cream.

The yoghurt goes well with the meringue, and the sweetness of the berries and meringue will hopefully curb any cream craving you have!

Enjoy!

Leek, Spinach and Potato Bake

Last weekend I didn’t go food shopping… and so I was stuck on Saturday night at 7pm as to what to cook for my dinner.  After rifling through my kitchen cupboards, I found some old potatoes, an onion, and a little bit of leek and broccoli hiding away in my fridge.

So I pottered about by my hob, and made this up as I went along.  It turned out really well though, and was a good hearty, very easy – and cheap – meal to cook in the evening.

Leek, Spinach and Potato Bake

2 leeks, chopped diagonally
200g fresh spinach (or use frozen as a cheaper option)
500g potatoes, cut into smallish cubes
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
Handful of grated cheese for topping
100ml milk
Several small sprigs of broccoli (I added quite a lot as I like broccoli, but this could easily be replaced by frozen peas, cauliflower or left out if you wanted)
Seasoning

1) Brown the diced potatoes with a little oil, pepper, salt and rosemary in a pan.

2) place onion, leek and garlic in a separate pan and fry in a small amount of oil (you can avoid the oil if you use a nonstick pan).

3) Once leek an onion have browned, tub down the heat and add the broccoli, and spinach.

4) combine potatoes and vegetables in an oven-proof dish, add the milk, and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.  Cook at 200’C for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with a side salad.

This dish provided me with 4 meals, and didn’t cost me a penny due to me having leftovers in the fridge and old potatoes in the cupboard. However, if you bought the ingredients from the supermarket, this meal would cost you approximately £1.60 for 4 portions (which makes each serving only 40p!) Ah if only I could make meals that cheap all the time…

Cinnamon Orange Cupcakes

Now that Christmas is over, there’s lots and lots of festive food still to be eaten… All that turkey, and Christmas cake… and mince pies… and what did I go and do??… I made more food!

I made this recipe for a family lunch on Boxing Day this year; the whole family gets together on Boxing Day – aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins – in my grandparents house, and we all bring some food to the table to contribute.  I made these cinnamon orange cupcakes as a break from all the heavy rich food.

Ingredients:

6 oz self raising flour

6 oz granulated sugar

6 oz butter (I use hard vegetable margarine)

3 eggs

2 tbsps milk

rind of 1 orange

juice of 1 orange

Recipe:

1) Preheat the oven to 180’C.

2) Measure out the basic ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, milk) into a bowl and beat together until blended.

3) Add the juice and rind of the orange, and mix in.

4) Spoon into cupcake cases and put in the oven for 15 – 20 minus until golden brown on top and spongy to the touch.  Once out of the oven, let the cakes sit in the tin for 5 minutes to cool before placing them on a cooling rack.

Icing:

4 oz hard margarine

8 oz icing sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Beat together the icing sugar, butter and cinnamon until the mixture turns creamy and smooth.  Use a palette knife or icing bag to ice the cakes, and decorate with edible glitter or sprinkles.

The 10 Posts of Christmas

“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to meeeeee…. a beautifully decorated flat and a pretty Christmas tree!”

And so the Christmas preparations come to a close.  I’ve been putting my decorations up, and am pleased with the results!  My flat looks nice and homely and ready for the winter holiday.

And here’s a reminder of all the projects that I did over the last couple of weeks:

Post 1:  Candles and Cones

Post 2:  Cute Christmas Trees

Post 3:  Christmas Tree and Heart Garland

Post 4:  Glitter Baubles

Post 5:  Christmas Wreath

Post 6:  Mum’s Mince Pies

Post 7:  Failproof Christmas Cake

Post 8:  Icing the Christmas Cake

Post 9:   Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine

Post 10:  Christmas Chocolates

So there you have it, my homemade Christmas!  Hope you’ve had a go doing some cooking and decorating yourselves 🙂

Happy Christmas everyone, hope you enjoy the food, family and festivities!

xx

Christmas Part 10: Quick and Easy Homemade Chocolate Truffles

I’m off home to the family today, which meant a mad dash packing up presents and trying to work out what to take for a week’s break last night.  As I’d been so busy the last couple of weeks with work, I still needed to make the annual Christmas chocolates that I always make for my aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Note: Family members look away NOW else your present is spoiled… BUT if you’re interested (and like them when I give them to you, keep reading, and you can find out how I made them!)

Chocolate Oreo Truffles

2 packets of oreo cookies (the normal 154g cookie packets)

4 oz butter (I use marg)

300g plain chocolate

two tbsps icing sugar

chocolate sprinkles and icing sugar to decorate

Recipe

1) Crush the oreo cookies into fine crumbs (I used a food processor for this, so it only took 5 minutes).

2) melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan until liquid and mixed together.

3) mix the 2 tbsps icing sugar with the cookie crumbs, and then pour the liquid chocolate over.  Mix well and leave to sit for 10 minutes to firm.

4) Take small teaspoonful amount of the mixture, roll lightly in your hands to create truffle ball shapes, and then roll in the sprinkles (or icing sugar if you prefer).  Place on a plate to harden for 30 minutes.  Then serve.  These should keep for about 2 weeks out of the fridge.  The mixture should make around 60 – 70 truffles.

All in all, they took me about 30 minutes to make, and they were super easy, no hassle, and look really really good.  I made a mix of icing sugar-covered and sprinkle-covered ones, and they compliment each other well.

I took time to package them carefully, in little cardboard Christmas cups I bought from IKEA, and then wrapped them in a clear cellophane bag, tied with a  red ribbon and a little name tag.

Christmas Part 9: Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine

This actually ties into the Cheap and Cheerful category as well as Christmas,but I’m including it on my Christmas countdown!

This is another easy recipe to make (which is great for Christmas, as everything is always so busy, it’s often hard to get time to yourself to do all the necessary things like making the Christmas cake, mince pies, mulled wine, etc etc…

It’s also another family favourite that gets pulled out of the recipe folder every Christmas.  Part of the putting-up-christmas-decorations ritual with my Mum and brother (Dad was always at work) was to stick on a Christmas CD, and I would go make this mulled wine whilst my brother sorted out the boxes and put together the christmas tree.  The spices are really warming and will make your whole house smell christmassy, and can be drunk any time of the day due to not actually being alcoholic (do you really need any more reasons to make it?).

Ingredients:

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

3 dstsp castor sugar

2 litres grape juice (though apple also works)

1/3 litre orange juice

1/3 litre water

1 orange, peeled and chopped, flesh only.

1 small apple, peeled and sliced thinly

Recipe:

1)  Put all ingredients (except the fresh fruit) into a aucepan and heat gently.  Do not allow to boil.

2)  Taste, and add more juices / sugar / spices to taste.

3)  Add the fruit and allow to warm in the mixture for about 5 minutes (so that they absorb some of the liquid).

4)  Serve in mugs, and garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired.

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I hope all of you are nearly finished with preparations for Christmas!… I still haven’t finished my packing of presents due to a craaaazy busy week (isn’t it always during the run up to Christmas?!)… But I’m looking forward to going to my parents’ housr tomorrow and celebrating Christmas with the family!