Banana, coconut and dark chocolate muffins

banana-coconut-muffins

Want to whip up a “not too naughty” treat in less than half an hour after dinner? Look no further than these tasty little banana, coconut and dark chocolate muffins. The banana gives the muffins a real ‘mositness’ and with the crunchy coconut on top and melted chocolate inside it’s the perfect accompaniment. These are perfect for a morning tea snack or a sweet treat after dinner with a good hot cuppa.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • dark chocolate chunks

Makes 10

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Stir together flour and baking powder. Whisk together bananas, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup coconut in a large bowl until combined well, then fold in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate.

Divide batter among 10 lined muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut. Bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are puffed and golden. Transfer muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

Enjoy with a pot of delicious Sencha green tea!

Happy baking, love Jem x

Mini eggplant pizzas

eggplant pizzas

I adore eggplant and pizza, so what could be better then combining the two? That’s a rhetorical question… because obviously nothing! The great thing about this recipe is that it’s vegetarian and gluten-free, so really it’ll make everyone happy. You can just use the ingredients in your fridge for the topping – spinach, mushroom, capsicum, etc… I personally love the combination of sour cherry tomatoes with salty black olives. Of course cheese is a must; haloumi, goats cheese, mozzarella, cheddar – the options are endless! Let me know what you top your eggplant pizzas with!

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/4 jar passata sauce
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1/2 jar black pitted olives, sliced in halves
  • mozzarella cheese, grated
  • basil, torn

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Arrange the sliced eggplants onto a tray and brush with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the baked eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 teaspoon of passata sauce over each eggplant then arrange cherry tomatoes, olives, cheese and basil. Place eggplant back in the oven and cook until cheese has melted. Enjoy hot, hot, hot!!

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Mushroom, onion and mustard gravy

mushroom-gravy

A great gravy transforms the classic meat and three veg into a simple yet delicious meal. This little winner is especially scrumptious on top of a good medium rare steak with sweet potato mash  – the English mustard just gives the gravy a real pop! This recipe is as easy as pie (actually easier) and you’ll probably have all of the ingredients in your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbl English mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • basil leaves, torn

Method

Fry the onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the mushrooms are tender add the stock, mustard, salt and pepper and turn the heat down to low. Keep the gravy on low heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the basil just before serving.

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Butter cake with white chocolate icing

butter cake

I made this scrumptious little number on the weekend for my partners birthday and it went down a treat! The inside moist, the icing rich and the freshness of the blueberries was just the perfect complement. This butter cake recipe is great for the base of a simple cake and then it can be jazzed up into something amaaaazing! I’d recommend adding berries to the cake mix if you want another element of flavour inside. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but this icing is the bloody best – I couldn’t stop licking the bowl. Betty Crocker aint got nothing on me. You add substitute the blueberries for fresh raspberries or strawberries. For those sweet tooth bakers why not add white chocolate shavings on top 😉

Ingredients

Butter cake

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

White chocolate icing

  • 200g white chocolate
  • 280g unsalted butter
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • blueberries to decorate

Method
Before starting make sure the eggs, milk and butter are at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the base of a round cake pan.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add the flour and milk, alternating in batches, until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use the back of a small palate knife to smooth the surface. Bake for about 25-30 minutes minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool in pan for about five minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whilst the cake is cooling it’s time to make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water then leave to cool slightly. In a large bowl beat the butter and icing sugar together until creamy, then mix in the chocolate and vanilla extract.

Spread the cake with the icing and smooth with a palate knife. Decorate it beautifully with blueberries and dust with icing sugar. YUM!!

Happy baking, love Jem x

Mini baked cheesecakes

cheesecake

Do you love cheese and cake? How about combining the two and creating a mouth watering, lick-the-plate kind of dessert… These mini baked cheesecakes are a mixture of a cheesecake and custard tart, and they are damn delicious! They are the perfect dinner party dessert as you can whip them up the night before, store in the fridge and then serve with delicious fruit and of course ice-cream! I’m sure you won’t be able to stop at just one though…

Ingredients

  • 250g plain sweet biscuits
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g packets cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can passion fruit pulp and fresh strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C and line a cupcake tin with baking paper/two cupcake cases.

Crush biscuits until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter and mix thoroughly until combined. Press mixture into base of cupcake cases. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla and lemon rind until smooth, then add the eggs. Pour evenly in to each cupcake case. Bake for 30 minutes or until just set. Allow to cool then remove the cheesecakes from cupcake cases and refrigerate overnight.

Serve the cheesecakes with passion fruit pulp, fresh strawberries and a dollop of vanilla bean ice-cream.

Happy baking, love Jem x

Apricot Clafouti

apricot

Clafouti is one of my all time favourite desserts, it’s one of those dishes you smell wafting through the house on a Sunday afternoon that you just can’t wait to dig in to. Clafouti is a regional French dessert and this recipe is easy as pie (actually easier) – it literally takes about five minutes to prepare. You can substitute the apricot for any stone fruit and even add a cheeky glass of liqueur.  Enjoy it warmed up with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream or custard.

Ingredients

  • 4 heaped tbl of plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tbl castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 570ml milk
  • 1/4 tin apricot halves, drained
  • icing sugar to dust

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, eggs, sugar and salt. Then pour in half the milk and beat the mixture to make it  light and fluffy. Add the rest of the milk and mix well until the mixture resembles a pancake batter.

Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and place apricot halves in the dish.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and wait cool then dust with icing sugar.

Happy baking, love Jem x