Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Banana Muffins

I couldn't resist buying yet another cookbook a few weeks ago, it is called Baking with Tiny Tots and is full of easy fun recipes you can make with children. I had a few very ripe bananas so DD#3 and I set off to make some banana muffins.
I rarely make muffins, fairy cakes now and again, but although we like muffins, especially the ones you buy at Costco, they are not something I would make very often. I have to say that this recipe will certainly be made again. The first thing I liked was that it was only for 6 muffins, ideal to give us all one each and still leave one to argue over. Honey was used instead of lots of sugar and only a small amount of butter. These muffins were moist and delicious, we had chocolate butter cream on ours as I had no caramel sauce, but next time I would probably make a cheese frosting to top these lovely muffins.

Here is the recipe

Makes 6

25g 1oz butter
2 tbs runny honey
2 tbs milk
2 large very ripe bananas
150g 5 oz self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


175g 6 oz icing sugar
1 teaspoon caramel sauce
2-3 tbs preboiled warm water
dried banana chips to decorate

Pre heat oven to gas 4 180oC (350oF) and put paper cases in muffin pan.

Put butter, milk and honey in a small pan and place over a low heat till melted.

Mash the bananas in a bowl using a fork, sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.

Pour the melted mixture into the bananas and mix well, tip into the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon. Remember lumps are good in a muffin mix, so just a couple of stirs or they will be tough and flat.

Quickly spoon the mix into the cases making each about 2/3 full, bake for 20-25 minutes till risen and golden.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

While they are cooling make the icing by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl, add the caramel sauce and enough water to make a thick, but spoonable icing. Spoon over the muffins when cool and decorate with a banana chip.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Healthy Eating

I suppose most people at some point in their life watch what they eat. Some do it without thinking while others have to really work at it.
I have always tried to have healthyish food at home and now more than ever as I get nearer to the big 40 - a couple of years away, but getting closer all the same, I really want to eat the best quality food that I can.
When you open up a recipe book and actually start making things from scratch, especially baking it gives you a greater understanding of what is in the food you eat. If you go to the shops and buy brownies for example you may eat the lot over a couple of days, but if you made them yourself you would see what was in them, be able to control the quality of the ingredients and eat a little less of them as they will be infinitely better.
It is often easier to adjust a savoury dish as they are not so dependent on ratios of ingredients, use a low fat spray instead of oil, cut out the butter, oven bake and grill instead of frying. Often it is simple changes that we make over time that can have the biggest impact on our health.
When you are told not to eat something, it then often becomes the one thing that you crave above all, moderation is good and resisting the temptation to eat the whole tube of pringles at one sitting is always the best option.

I caught an episode of the barefoot contessa the other day and she made a dip that looked perfect for tweaking.
All I did was omit the olive oil and used low fat spray instead, make sure you use plenty of seasoning - a little cayenne works well in this dish. This also benefits from being made the day before you want to eat it. I am going to have some stirred into cooked pasta for tea.

Friday, 3 October 2008

If you always do what you've always done........

....You'll always get what you've always got.

I had never heard this before, and sometimes the simplest things jump out and speak to you when you are least expecting it.
I was sitting watching an episode of NCIS a few weeks ago with DD#2, if I am honest I really like Mark Harmon, and have done so since I was a young girl and he was in St Elsewhere, but enough of that, one of the cast said this phrase and it hit me hard, why? I don't know, but the more I thought about it's simplicity, the more understanding I had about the enormity of how much I could change by doing thing differently.
I suppose it is easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old routines and habits, but they say a change is as good as a rest, and I really need one of those so I will have to think about how I can do some things a little differently.

I was lucky enough to go to Edinburgh Zoo with the school yesterday to learn more about the Indian festival Dussherra, which celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
I had the job of photographer and got this great shot of a penguin. So no food pictures today, but some animals from the zoo.