Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doughnut Muffins -insert fruit of choice-

When posting some of my favorite recipes, there's one recipe I have to share and that is my number one muffin recipe. Just before Christmas I made them again and took the muffins out into the snow to make some pictures (how often do you get the chance to do that?!). I’ve made these muffins so many times I know the recipe by heart. Since the very beginning , the recipe has never failed me and every time again I end up with delicious muffins in a very short time. I keep opening the little muffin-cookbook I have on the same page to make the doughnut muffins again and again and again. And every time I bake them, I instantly abandon any diet plans I had in mind. 

Like with most of my recipes, it’s so easy to make variations to the recipe. I’ve used about every dried and fresh fruit and even jams in these lovely bakes already.

Doughnut muffins
Yields 12 muffins

275 grams self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 grams caster sugar
75 ml sunflower oil
150 grams (Greek) yogurt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

200-300 grams dried fruits of your preference

1. Sift the flour, the bicarbonate of soda and sugar together.
2. In a separate bowl add the oil, yogurt, vanilla extract and eggs together and whisk.
3. Add the dried fruits of your preference.
3. Add the flour/sugar-mixture and mix until everything is thoroughly mixed. Try not to beat the batter any more than necessary as the muffins might be dry.
4. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cups and drop a spoon or two in each case until the cupcake wrappers are filled for about 3/4.
5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the muffins in for about 16-20 minutes.
6. When the muffins are done, leave them to cool and dip them in some extra sugar if you like.

I have to say, the measurement for the dried fruits is really just an estimate. I normally use half a package of raisins, but I always use a bit more dried fruits in any recipe as I totally love them. So if you’re not that fond of dried fruits, or you’re unsure, keep adding the fruits little by little until you think it’s enough. When you’re using fresh fruits, jams or when you’re very extremely unsure on how much dried fruit to add, try adding them in step 4. Drop a bit of batter into a cupcake cup, then add the fruits or jam, then cover with more batter and repeat until the cupcake wrappers are filled for about 3/4.

Then, sit back and relax, and enjoy. There’s nothing more satisfying that a good cup of tea, a book and a couple of muffins to enjoy. Although, for this winter, I’d include some blankets. Perhaps a fireplace as well, with wood that softly crackles as the fire licks it. Oh, and those lights for in front of the window that twinkle like snow is falling. Or the company of some friends or family to make it even more cosy? What about some hot chocolate? Some sweet Christmas melody in the background? Fresh holly on the tables and on the walls that give the room the fresh smell of forest?
... in the end, just the muffin is enough for me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warm your heart in the winter cold

The weather outside is so gloomy here, I can feel my mood plummeting with it. To cheer myself up I made a heartwarming drink I’ve had too much last Christmas vacation (although admittedly still not enough). My boyfriend would treat me over and over again to an alcohol-free alternative to Gl├╝hwein in the bitter cold of Vienna: Apfel/Birne Punsch.

After designing a recipe that involved real apples and pears and hours of work, I came up with a new version. It's a lot easier to make and saves a lot of time. All you need is two massive bottles of (natural & fresh) juice. I kept making a little punsch at a time, but both my sisters kept asking for more and I ended up using all the juice just for the punsch.

Apple & Pear Punch
serves 3-4 people (or 12 tiny glasses)

1 cup apple juice (clouded)
1 cup pear juice
1-2 spoons vanilla essence
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick

1. Put everything in a pan together and heat it up. Leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve! The longer you leave the juice to simmer, the ‘spicier’ it will become.

I realize that even though I have a lot of free time now, starting my blog again is going very slow. For some reason I have been slacking like hell. Someone hit me! 

Special thanks to my sister for posing for this last picture!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aglio et olio

I’m all exited about blogging again. I’m thinking of speed-posting a few recipes before I get down and feed you with more on a weekly basis. One of the first things I want to share with you is what to do with left-over pasta. Or what do with pasta you cooked on a hot summery day when you don't want to go through the trouble of making a sauce. Or what to cook any day just because it's so delicious. I'll let you decide.

I posted this recipe ages ago on my old blog, back when I still had my point-and-shoot camera. Still, I dare say these are one of the better pictures I've managed to make. Apparently I spend 10 minutes making the recipe, and another 20 to make a good picture. Just looking at them makes me feel a bit nostalgic, but also very proud of how far I managed to come.


Let's quickly share the recipe before I start ranting about my old blog, my dreams of food, styling and photography. This easy recipe is perfect for any leftover spaghetti you have that you didn’t throw into any sauce yet.  

Aglio et Olio

Spaghetti (leftovers or cooked and cooled)
Olive oil
Garlic or spring onions
Parsley or basil
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Pour the olive oil over the spaghetti until it’s ‘wet’ all over. It all depends on the amount of spaghetti you’re choosing but you’ll probably end up with a spoon or three. Just add one and mix and add more until you’re satisfied. Remember it’s easier to add than to take out!
2. Cut your garlic or spring onions – not both, it’ll be too strong – and mix them into the spaghetti.
3. Chop up your basil or parsley and throw those into the spaghetti as well.
4. Lastly add the salt and pepper to taste. My taste requires quite a few pinches of salt and no pepper at all, but you’re probably off best adding what you’d normally add to a dish.
5. Serve cold with tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, mmm) or a salad. This is a very plain main dish so make sure you eat enough vegetables on the side!


And there you have it. I didn’t put all the spaghetti I had on the plate and I was quite happy I could eat those leftovers while taking pictures. And after that, I ate it all. With some help.
A little note on the recipe: use good, high quality, olive oil. You can buy an olive oil, with a taste like pepper, lemon or basil and you might even get away with a completely different oil like walnut oil (although I wouldn't think so). However, don't use any oil you don't like the taste of naturally. Some cheap chemical-tasting olive oils will do fine for cooking, but the taste will be too prominent in this dish and will make it taste horrible. I also really wouldn't recommend sunflower oil, but if you're desperate I suppose it might be worth a shot. Just be sure to use as less as possible when you don't like the taste or you're unsure.


Enjoy my very first post including a recipe and please look forward to more in the near future!