Black Forest Muffins

Super rich in flavour, light and fluffy these Black Forest Muffins tick all the right boxes plus they are easy to make and best of all, they can be on your table within the hour! Though they do taste better if you can resist until they are cooled completely 🙂

Super rich in flavour, light and fluffy these Black Forest Muffins tick all the right boxes plus they are easy to make and best of all they can be on your table within the hour! Almost everyone loves a classic Black Forest Gateaux but who has access to or even afford one every day? So as we fancied one but didn’t have access to one our creative juices started to flow and this is what we came up with – a black forest muffins!

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125g flour
  • 25g organic unsweetened raw cocoa
  • 4 eggs; separated
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 75g cherries in juice; drained

For the syrup:

  • 3tbsp cherry juice
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1tbs cherry liqueur

For the decoration (optional):

  • 150ml whipping cream
  • 10 cherries
  • Chocolate shavings

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Prepare 10 cups in a muffin tin tray by lining them with paper muffin cases or lightly greasing.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, on a low heat melt the butter and sugar, gently bring to the boil and cook for a minute or two stirring constantly till the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, transfer into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

In a clean and dry bowl whisk the egg whites until peaks form.

Once the butter and sugar mixture has cooled down, stir in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla essence, then sift over flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix well.

Then gently fold in the cherries and whisked egg whites.

Spoon the batter into the earlier prepared muffin cases and bake for around 15 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch, use a wooden toothpick to check, it should come out clean when you stick it into the middle of the muffin.

Whilst your muffin are baking mix up the syrup by combining all the listed ingredients. If you are struggling with dissolving the sugar simply heat the cherry juice up a bit.

Once the muffins are baked remove from the oven and whilst still hot slowly drizzle a little bit of the syrup mix onto each muffin. It will give them a wonderful shiny finish 🙂

If you are opting for the fully loaded version of the muffin with whipped cream then whip the cream (I don’t add sugar but if you fancy more sweetness, you might want to add a tablespoon of icing sugar… or two) so it is ready for serving.

Once you are ready to eat, simply decorate your shiny muffins with the whipped cream and place a cherry on top; finish with some chocolate shavings sprinkled all over…

Perfection!

Super rich in flavour, light and fluffy these Black Forest Muffins tick all the right boxes plus they are easy to make and best of all they can be on your table within the hour! In the past we used to only bake these muffins for special occasions, especially if we opted for the whipped cream finish but lately we have decided that actually, every day is a special day, so why not treat ourselves for no particular reason at all!

What is your favourite special occasion dessert?

Super rich in flavour, light and fluffy these Black Forest Muffins tick all the right boxes plus they are easy to make and best of all they can be on your table within the hour!

Moving Abroad – Top 5 Things I Miss About the UK

Moving abroad is never easy, no matter how wonderful the new place is, there is always something you are going to miss. Christmas and the incoming New Year’s celebration have put me in a reminiscent mood, so I’ve decided to share with you all those little things I miss about the UK.

Moving abroad is never easy, no matter how wonderful the new place is, there is always something you are going to miss. Christmas and the incoming New Year’s celebration have put me in a reminiscent mood, so I’ve decided to share with you all those little things I miss about the UK. Friends

Well, this is always the biggest downside to moving away. Years ago when I moved to the UK, I had to deal with the same dilemma, leaving all my friends behind… despite having some experience with this no one ever said that the second time round would be any easier, and it wasn’t. I miss my friends and there isn’t a lot I can do about it… yes, there are phones, Skype, emails and all the other social media updates but this simply isn’t the same as some face to face contact. I hope with time things will get better and my friends will someday make the effort to come to us, with a visit.

Car boots

This might not be a big deal for most people but I did love and still do love car boot sales. Every Sunday I would take some “me time” and spend a few hours at my local car boot sales. Sometimes I would bring home a discovered bargain but to be honest most of the time I would come back empty handed, even then I would still be happy and relaxed and fired up for a week to come. Apparently there are some car boot sales here but they only operate during the summer season so hopefully, I will get my next fix soon.

The roads! But not the traffic

Think what you want but the roads here are in places totally diabolical! I can’t even describe them with any justice, just to say it’s bad. The first thing we had to do after moving here was to get ourselves a 4×4 so we could actually move around without huge garage bills. Yes, people do use “normal” cars here but I truly have no idea how… how are they surviving with all those holes (craters) and how do they make sure their car doesn’t fall apart every time after hitting them because you just can’t miss them all! I truly do miss simple, straight and flat tarmac… sad I know! The roads here are hideous, maybe with the exception of the new motorways which are super smooth like a babies bottom and a few country roads that somehow have been dragged into the modern era but the rest…ouch. On the other hand, there is a huge silver lining… there is no traffic… that has to count for something, right? After three months of driving around everywhere, I have not once been in a traffic jam, not even a little one and that includes driving around the cities.

Lottery

I was never a huge Lotto fanatic but every now and then, like most people, I would buy a “lucky” ticket in the hope of winning the jackpot and of course while away some time dreaming about just how I would spend all of that money. Now, as I officially no longer live in the UK, I can no longer participate in the lottery. Luckily for me however, I’ve discovered Lottoland, which doesn’t put any restrictions on your address and I can still indulge myself with the occasional “lucky” ticket, or should I say slip to be precise. Yes, I no longer have the satisfaction of having my paper ticket (which actually isn’t such a bad idea as I do tend to lose things) but I am also not restricted as to what to play. Next time I am feeling lucky I might even try the US Power Ball 🙂

The ease of shopping

Discovering new things is fun, don’t get me wrong but shopping in a foreign land with no real ability to read what is stated on the label can get a bit tedious. Again, with time this will disappear or at least get a bit better but for now, I truly miss going to the store and knowing what it actually is that I have just put into my basket. My friend once told me that discovering new things, especially foods is good for us… and yes, I do agree with the sentiment but then again coming home with a bag of something you thought was caster sugar and then discovering it’s definitely not can get a bit annoying.

 

All that being said, with all these things that I miss about the UK, I still swear that we have made a good choice. I am sure with time some of these issues will fade away and other different things will come to light but such is life… it is never perfect, is it? But this is the closest we have ever got to it.

12 Delicious Winter Salads

12-delicious-winter-saladsAre you fed up with all those heavy cold-weather meals? Fancy something a little lighter after the Xmas feasting, that is still super tasty and yet easy to prepare? Well, look no further… today I want to share with you a round-up of 12 delicious winter salads, based on seasonal ingredients, which will definitely help to lighten things up.

baby-kale-and-roasted-cauliflower-salad-with-pomegranatesBaby kale and roasted cauliflower salad with pomegranates

chickpeas-pomegranate-salad-with-lime-dressingChickpeas & Pomegranate Salad with Lime Dressing

hearty-radicchio-salad-with-roasted-potatoesHearty Radicchio Salad with Roasted Potatoes

kale-and-clementine-winter-saladKale and Clementine Winter Salad

lemon-garlic-roasted-brussel-sprouts-with-zucchini-and-pomegranateLemon Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts + Zucchini + Pomegranate

roast-beetroot-salad-with-lentils-fennel-and-blood-orange-in-a-blood-orange-dressingRoast Beetroot Salad with Lentils, Fennel and Blood Orange in a Blood Orange Dressing

shaved-brussels-sprout-and-cranberry-saladShaved Brussels Sprout and Cranberry Salad

vegetarian-olivier-salad-salada-russaVegetarian Olivier salad (Salada Russa)

watermelon-radish-and-spinach-salad-with-barleyWatermelon Radish and Spinach Salad with Barley

winter-kale-beet-saladWinter Kale Beet Salad

winter-salad-with-brown-butter-dressingWinter Salad with Brown “Butter” Dressing

winter-sweet-citrus-salad-with-pomegranate-pistachiosWinter Sweet Citrus Salad with Pomegranate & Pistachios

 

I hope this small selection will get you inspired. Yes, salads are more of a summer dish but who said we can’t eat them in winter too, especially as they use proper seasonal produce?

What’s your favourite winter salad?

Are you fed up with all those heavy cold-weather meals? Fancy something a little lighter after the Xmas feasting, that is still super tasty and yet easy to prepare? Well, look no further… today I want to share with you a round-up of 12 delicious winter salads, based on seasonal ingredients, which will definitely help to lighten things up.

5 Facts About Cats We Bet You Didn’t Know

Cats make excellent pets. Not only are they loving and affectionate, but they are also very independent animals. They clean themselves and they don’t need to be taken outside. You can even leave the house for a few days as long as you leave enough food and water for your cat before you leave.

But before you start visiting breeding catteries in Kent, you should know all you can about cats. Chances are, there are a few things about these adorable creatures that you don’t know.

5-facts-about-cats-we-bet-you-didnt-know-aboutCats Have the Ability to Tolerate Heat

All cats come from their ancestor, the big cats. These cats were often found in deserts hundreds of years ago. Today, big cats such as lions and tigers live in Africa, where the temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees. Thanks to their ancestors, domesticated cats can tolerate high temperatures. They pant to cool themselves down. It’s just not as obvious as when a dog pants, but cats still do it. Cats can even sweat through the pads on the bottoms of their feet.

Cats are Farsighted

If you get too close in your cat’s face, he may not be able to tell that it is you. This is because cats cannot focus on anything unless it is at least a foot away from them. This is why cats have whiskers. The whiskers allow them to sense things that they cannot see clearly.

Cats Sleep A Lot

If you bring your new cat home and all he does is sleep, don’t worry. He isn’t sleeping so much because he is sick or depressed. It is normal for a cat to sleep a lot. On average, cats spend about two-thirds of their lives asleep. If your cat is napping, let him sleep, it’s normal.

Your Cat Can Fit Anywhere

If you find that your cat is able to escape from the home or from a room, it doesn’t mean that he is a magician. It just means that his body makes it possible. Cats don’t have collarbones, which means that they can squeeze out an opening the size of his head. As long as he can get his head through a tight spot, his body will get through as well. If you are trying to confine your cat to the house or to just one room, just make sure that there are no small places for him to squeeze through. Cats are very tenacious. If your cat wants to go out, he likely won’t stop until he succeeds.

You Aren’t Actually Allergic to Your Cat

Many people believe that they are allergic to cats. This is not the case. You aren’t even allergic to your cat’s fur. It is actually his dander that causes an allergic reaction. Cats produce a hormone in their saliva that can trigger allergies in humans. Because cats are constantly bathing themselves, the saliva spreads to their fur and this is what can cause your allergies. If you do have an allergy to cat dander, it doesn’t mean that you can’t own a cat. There are certain breeds of cat that are hypoallergenic. This means that even if you have a cat allergy, you won’t be allergic to these breeds.

If you are considering adopting a cat, you should be sure that you have the time to spend with him. While cats may be independent, they still need love and attention for them to be happy. If you are considering adopting, you should first do your homework and make sure that you have everything that your cat will need.

5-facts-about-cats-we-bet-you-didnt-know