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!

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.

Super Green Morning Smoothie

This super green, high protein morning smoothie is packed with goodness, which will allow you to really kick start your day.

This super green, high protein morning smoothie is packed with goodness, which will allow you to really kick start your day.Every single ingredient brings something to the table:

Water – essential for good hydration; promotes weight loss and helps to flush out the toxins from our body.

Spinach – not only is it high in proteins and fibre but it is also loaded with microelements and vitamins like A, B6, C, E and K just to name a few.

Kiwi – with its low GI, high fibre content and alkaline properties kiwi is a perfect morning fruit, which adds tonnes of vitamin C, vitamin E and antioxidants into the mixture.

Matcha – super high in antioxidants helps to increase our energy levels, endurance and concentration but at the same time, promotes calmness and relaxation.

Wheatgrass – it contains chlorophyll, which is a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier; additionally it contains all minerals known to man, as well as many other vitamins.

Chia seeds – low calories, high in fibre and proteins, just what you need in the morning.

Protein powder – well this one is optional but if like me, you are struggling with food in the morning, I would highly suggest adding some into your smoothie to boost your protein intake, which will help with metabolism and keep you fuller for longer.

So let’s mix!

This super green, high protein morning smoothie is packed with goodness, which will allow you to really kick start your day.Ingredients:

  • 250ml filtered water*
  • 1 large organic kiwi; peeled and halved
  • 1 scoop of diet whey protein powder**
  • 1 large handful of fresh organic spinach***
  • 1tsp organic chia seeds
  • 1/2tsp organic matcha
  • 1/2tsp organic wheatgrass

*as its winter time I don’t like my smoothie too cold in the morning so I don’t use chilled water, but come the warmer weather, you can use chilled water or reduce the amount of water and add a good handful of ice cubes on top

**I like strawberry flavour from PhD

***frozen would work great too

Method:

Well, you will need a blender, a high power one would be ideal.

Simply pop all the ingredients into the blender bowl, starting with water, pop the lid on and blend.

I start with variable 1, turn it to 10 and then swap too high for around 10 seconds or so. In this time frame, my Vitamix will have blended everything nicely, including the chia seeds and kiwi pips.

This super green, high protein morning smoothie is packed with goodness, which will allow you to really kick start your day.Serve and enjoy!

This super green, high protein morning smoothie is packed with goodness, which will allow you to really kick start your day.

Coffee, Chocolate & Pecan Cookies

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.It’s cold out there, and very white… yes, we are kind of snowed in, which means no playing outside… as a result, we are spending more time in the kitchen, cooking and baking and generally creating some wonderful creations… and today I would love to share our new cookies with you 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 175g flour
  • 115g butter; soften
  • 115g light muscovado sugar
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 50g pecans; roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp instant coffee
  • 1tbs hot water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4tsp grounded ginger
  • 1/4tsp grounded cinnamon

For decoration (optional)

  • 25g dark chocolate; melted
  • 25g pecans; roughly chopped

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare two large baking trays by lining them with baking parchment.

In a large bowl place the butter and both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Put the coffee granules into a small bowl or cup; add hot water and stir until dissolved, set aside to cool. Then add the vanilla extract and the egg and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the coffee mixture into your butter and sugar mix beating until creamed and fluffy again.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and fold carefully into your mix.

Finally, fold in the pecans and chocolate chunks.

Measure approximately one heaped tablespoon of mixture per cookie and place onto your earlier prepared baking trays spacing them well apart to allow room to grow.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside, they will still feel very soft to the touch but they are ready at this stage.

Leave to cool on the baking tray for a 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.If decorating, wait until the cookies have cooled down completely, drizzle with melted chocolate then immediately sprinkle with chopped nuts (the still warm chocolate will work like a glue as it cools and sets).

Store, after cooling down completely, in an airtight container.

Enjoy with a beverage of your choice!

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.

Homemade Nutty Falafel

Super crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy inside, this falafel delivers a delicious flavour combination – fresh herbs, nuts with a wonderful spicy finish of ginger and chilli.

Super crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy inside, this falafel delivers a delicious flavour combination – fresh herbs, nuts with a wonderful spicy finish of ginger and chilli.Ingredients:

  • 300g dry chickpeas
  • 50g pecans
  • 50g fresh coriander; chopped
  • 30g fresh flat leaf parsley; chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic; halved
  • ~2cm piece of fresh ginger; peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium size onion; roughly chopped
  • 1tbsp spelt flour
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 1 1/2tsp black pepper
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1/2tsp chilli flakes
  • ~100ml olive oil for frying
  • 1.5l water for soaking

Method:

Pour 1.5l litre of filtered water to a pot, add the chickpeas, pop the lid on and leave to soak for at least 10h (overnight works best).

When you are ready to make your falafel, drain the chickpeas then pop them into a food processor.

Add all other ingredients spreading them evenly around the processor bowl but leaving the pecans to be added last. They will help to weigh down the fresh herbs, which means that everything will better stay in place while mixing.

Use the pulse function until your mixture is coarse to semi-coarse. Do not over pulse / mix or you will end up with a hummus-like texture, which isn’t ideal for falafels.

Once done, remove the blade from your food processor and start forming your falafels. I used an ice-cream scoop to measure mine out and the mixture should yield 24 almost perfect balls of falafel 🙂

Super crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy inside, this falafel delivers a delicious flavour combination – fresh herbs, nuts with a wonderful spicy finish of ginger and chilli.Do not squeeze your mixture too much as this will make it dense and remove moisture from it, which will result in dry falafels later on. If you are struggling to form your desired shape you can:

  1. Pop the blade back on your processor and pulse few more times.
  2. Pop it into the fridge to help firm it up a bit
  3. Or worst case scenario add some eggs to help it glue together, but you really shouldn’t need to do this, if you followed the measurements as stated.

Once all your falafels have their final shape, it’s time to fry!

Super crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy inside, this falafel delivers a delicious flavour combination – fresh herbs, nuts with a wonderful spicy finish of ginger and chilli.In a heavy bottomed frying pan, ideally a small cast iron one, preheat 100ml of olive oil (or more if you pan is bigger, ideally you are aiming for enough oil in the pan to cover half of your falafel).

Bring the oil up to 180C before popping your falafels in. Do not over crowd the pan. I cook 6 at the time despite having space for 12 or even 15. More falafels at one time popped into the pan means a bigger drop in the oil temperature once you put them in (this will result in your falafel soaking up the oil making them greasy) and a general inability to turn them with ease, so take it easy and fry them in batches.

When I fry the oil drops to 170C, this is temperature of my oil once all new falafels are in. I heat it up to 180C again as quickly as possible before turning the heat down and cook for about 5-6 minutes turning regularly

When done remove with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen roll to soak up any residual oil.

Serve warm or cold with a green salad or go classic and add into a wrap.

Most importantly of all though… enjoy!

Do you like falafel?

What’s your favourite way of serving them?

Super crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy inside, this falafel delivers a delicious flavour combination – fresh herbs, nuts with a wonderful spicy finish of ginger and chilli.