Blueberry muffin cakes

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in A Taste of Oregon. It went down well with my new housemates! To stop the mixture from curdling, make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start cooking.

Beat together 1/4 cup margerine and 1/3 cup sugar until well combined and fluffy-looking. Beat in 1 egg until well combined. Sift together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, then add to the wet mixture and combine. Slowly mix in 1/3 cup milk then fold in 1 200g pack of blueberries. If using paper cupcake cases, grease them with a little margerine (silicone cases won’t need greasing) and fill almost to the top with the mixture. Bake at 220°C for 5 minutes to create a rounded muffin-top, then turn the oven down to 180°C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the centre of a muffin clean. The muffins will keep for several days in an airtight container.

 

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Soda Dumplings

Traditionally dumplings are made with suet, but since I didn’t have any I modified a soda bread recipe to make these, which I can make with cupboard ingredients I always have to hand.

Sift about 150g plain flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a bowl; add generous black pepper and herbs of your choice (I use about 1/2 tsp each of sage and rosemary). Thoroughly mix in 2 tbsp oil or melted butter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly pour in about 150 ml milk, stirring thoroughly, until the dough holds together and comes away from the side of the bowl, but before it gets too wet. Add more sifted flour if it’s very sticky. Break off palm-sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls – depending on the size of the dumplings you can get between 6 and 8 from this recipe. Drop into a covered casserole or soup 15-20 minutes before the end of its cooking time.

Marrow Special: Zucchini Bread

This recipe was given to me by an American friend, hence the name. It’s similar in texture and taste to banana bread. It will make two large loaves, but keeps well and can be frozen.

Sift together 3 cups flour (I used 2 cups spelt and 1 cup wheat), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder and 3 tsp cinnamon. In a separate bowl beat together 3 eggs, 1 cup oil, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tsp vanilla essence or extract. Grate 2 cups of marrow – if the marrow is particularly large (over 1 kg) gently squeeze out some of the water with your hands. Add the sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients, then stir in the marrow and 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans until well combined. Transfer into two large greased loaf tins and bake at 170°C for 40-60 minutes or until a knife in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

The bread goes particularly well with marrow preserve!

Simple Lentil Dhal

Neither traditional nor authentic, but a filling, easy to cook meal that can be made just with cupboard ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix 1/4 cup red lentils, 1/4 cup green lentils, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tablespoon curry paste in an ovenproof dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until lentils are soft, checking every 15 minutes and adding more liquid if necessary.

Serves 1.

Variations:

  • Sliced onion or garlic added to the dhal will improve the flavour. They can be pre-fried but it’s not necessary
  • Add any hard vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, cabbage etc can be sliced and stirred into the dhal. My personal favourite is Brussels sprouts
  • To speed up cooking time, soak the lentils in hot water for a few hours first
  • The dish can be made with any kind of lentil, although red lentils tend to cook more quickly than others
  • The coconut milk can be substituted for any other non-dairy milk, or water (the dhal will be less creamy if just made with water)
  • Can be doubled up and eaten for leftovers. Keeps for a few days in the back of the fridge.

Vegetable Casserole

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt 1tbsp butter in a large saucepan. Fry 1 leek, sliced and 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped until soft. Add 1 can kidney beans, rinsed; 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped; 6 small carrots, peeled and chopped; 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped; fry for a few minutes then stir in 1 can coconut milk, 1/3 cup chopped tomato, 1/3 cup stock, 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp basil and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Transfer to casserole dish, cover, cook for 35 minutes. Mix 1 tsp cornflour with a little hot water to make a paste. Stir into casserole, cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serves 3 generously

Variations:

  • Swap butter for vegetable oil for vegan
  • A large onion can be used instead of leek
  • Cornflour can be left out, just add a little less liquid or cook for a little longer
  • Any root vegetables can be used instead of carrot and potato
  • Sweet potato can be substituted for squash or pumpkin
  • Any softer vegetables should be added 10 minutes into the oven cooking time
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée or tomato ketchup and an extra 1/3 cup of stock can be used instead of chopped tomato