Orange and Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

For some reason I’ve ended up with an excess of pumpkin and sweet potato. I ordered them online and only saw how bloody huge they were when they arrived. My kids don’t even like pumpkin. Never mind. So far I’ve roasted the pumpkin and worked it into a Pumpkin & Tomato soup, Pumpkin Pancakes, Roast Pumpkin for salads and now Orange and Pumpkin Muffins. (All of these things were happily eaten by the kids, except the salad) These recipes all use lovely fresh roasted pumpkin, not ‘a can of pumpkin puree’. I got a Japanese Pumpkin, cut it into slices and roasted it with the skin on. You can eat the skin, but for these I just cut the skin off when it had cooled down.

This recipe is fairly adhoc (surprise surprise) and delivers beautiful, soft, tasty muffins. They are not enormous cakey ones, nor are they those dense dry abominations that you find in the healthy cafes. These are pretty low sugar, and use half flour, half almond meal which gives them a nice texture. Slightly spiced with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, these pumpkin muffins are great for autumn days with black coffee, but also a glass of milk. This recipe is too easy and perfect if you’re looking for some nice healthy treats for the kids. (not freak healthy, just regular, decent healthy)

Ingredients:

  • 115g plain flour
  • 115g almond meal
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g fresh roasted pumpkin ( I used Japanese Pumpkin, roasted with a bit of coconut oil until soft but not mushy)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 orange rind finely grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, almond meal, baking powder sugar, salt & spices until well combined. Add orange rind to the bowl.
  3. In a jug combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin and puree with a handblender until nice and smooth.
  4. Pour the puree and the coconut oil into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  5. Scoop spoonfuls of mixture into muffin tins lined with paper cases and bake for 15- 20 mins until toasty on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Vegetable Tomato Pasta Sauce

Vegetable Tomato Pasta Sauce

Vegetable Tomato Pasta Sauce – this is a great basic pasta sauce recipe – fresh, healthy and very tasty. You can use this tossed through pasta, in lasagne, even add extra stock and serve it as soup. The easiest way to get a heap of veggies into little tummies without drama, or them even noticing for that matter. I freeze portions so I can pull out something healthy, quickly when all else fails (which it often does).

I make it low salt for the kids, so for the adults you’ll need to season with sea salt & loads of cracked pepper, maybe top with some chilli, fried chorizo, some fresh baby spinach or rocket, and some shaved parmesan.

This recipe is so straightforward – it’s very flexible and forgiving, you can change around the quantities as you like, and you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. A combination of  following vegetables work really well and result in a lovely sweet sauce.

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Red Capsicum/Pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Leek
  • Tomatoes

Vegetable Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red capsicum/pepper chopped
  • 1 large onion peeled and chopped
  • A few stalks of celery trimmed and chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1 x bottle of passata (preferably low sodium)
  • 1-2 cups of homemade vegetable stock (depends how thick you like your sauce)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pan on medium, add a splash of olive oil and add the garlic, onion and all the other vegetables and put the lid on.
  2. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the passata and the vegetable stock.
  3. Simmer for another 20 mintutes then blend until smooth
  4. Season to taste (or not, for the little ones).
  5. Serve with hot pasta, tossed in a little butter and grated parmesan. (and any other goodies for adults)

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Tiny birthday cupcakes for tiny preschool friends to share. Kids seem to go mental for this kind of thing. A proper little treat. (It’s a birthday – there will be cake with flour and butter and sugar.)

The recipe for these came from Sweetapolita – who’s blog I discovered a few years ago – it’s a happy explosion of pastels and sprinkles and has inspired a number of birthday cakes for my little people.

I’ve always just made hand mixed, one bowl style cakes. They’ve always been nice, homely. I’ve never been a big fan of icing, especially sugary colourful icing. Too sickly, and sometimes strangely artificial. (Apart from when I was a small child I’d peel off and eat that thick layer of pink or chocolate or lemon icing from Mr Kipling cupcakes, and chuck the cake).

But when I saw those recipes for the mega layer cakes and whipped icing – I borrowed a mixer and followed the detailed instructions. My eyes widened when I found the consistency of the cake mix before it went into the pan – amazing – a great whipped, fluffy, billowing cloud of cake mix, as if made by The Care Bears. This was followed by excitement and intense anticipation – because you know the cake is going to be great if the mixture is that good. The excessive whipping applies to the icing too, and I’ve never known icing like it. I’m now a total convert and am considering having more children to bake birthday cakes for.

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 60 tiny cupcakes.

Recipe only slightly adapted from Sweetapolita, which was adapted from Magnolia Bakery.

For the cupcakes:
  • 2 – 3/4 cups (350 g) plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 227 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (237 ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste
For the icing:
  • 345 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 5 cups (625 g) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla paste
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

For the cupcakes:
    1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with paper liners.
    2. In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder very well and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one.
    4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
    5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake until tops turn golden brown and chopstick inserted into centre comes out just clean (about 15 minutes)
    6. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely before icing.
For the icing:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip butter until very pale & creamy. (about 5 minutes on medium speed)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute, then on medium for another 5 minutes, until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  3. Add a drop of food colour, and mix until blended.
  4. Ice the cooled cupcakes however you damn like

Pear & Maple Brown Butter Baby Muffins

Pear & Maple Bay Muffins
I think it’s going to be a bit harder to keep my second kid away from screens and sugar for as long as I did with the first. I get caught out without food somewhere at some critical point in the afternoon (afternoon tea for small children is a big thing), end up at the bakery, problem solved for the 4 year old, but I can’t give the baby a hot cross bun yet. (well – she might’ve had a little taste).

If I can, I prefer to make something, so I know what’s in it. I made up this recipe for baby muffins with pear, oats, cinnamon and yogurt.

These have no actual cane sugar but they do have a bit of maple syrup and vanilla to sweeten them slightly. I tried the brown butter thing with these to add some further interest. Yeah.

They’re soft and lovely and very tasty. The only problem is their mini size – makes them a bit too easy for the big people to gobble up. I made a pile of them and stick a few in little freezer bags so I can grab some whilst tearing out the door.

Pear & Maple Brown Butter Baby Muffins Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 170gr butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • Half cup milk
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 tbsp yogurt plus bit of yoghurt liquid
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 pears peeled and finely chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C
  2. Brown the butter over a medium heat. (you want it nutty and golden, not burnt)
  3. Mix oats with the pear and all the wet ingredients
  4. Mix Flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture then the browned butter, combine gently
  6. Spoon into greased mini muffin tin, until skewer (erm, chopstick) comes out clean. About 15mins.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

I made these awesome gluten free Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes with quinoa flour for my mum.

Gluten is a great friend of mine, but considering all the bread and pasta and baked things we eat, I think it’s good to use a variety of flours, so that it’s not just wheat all the time.

These pancakes have a warm, nutty flavour. The cinnamon and vanilla help balance that quinoa taste, and they are totally delicious just warm, even with nothing on them at all.

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Adapted from Rachel Ray. I used butter instead of oil, and also used a little bit more baking powder, vanilla & cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 50g melted butter, plus more for cooking
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients together
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix to combine
  5. Add a little butter to your hot pan and swirl around
  6. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan and cook for a few minutes, flip when bubbles appear over the surface and cook a further couple of mins.
  7. Eat warm