EGG FREE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES

My son and eggs do not mix well.

After planting 2 seeds of pumpkin  that months later brought fourth 8 really huge  pumpkins,i was left twiddling my thumbs on what to do with the rest of them .

Then i had one of  those now of my now rare light bulb moments……i decided to try my hand at making cupcakes packed with lots of vitamin  A and flavor to boot that he would not react to. what

I tinkered with a carrot cake  recipe i had and i replaced the butter  with sunflower oil which gives them a crumbly crust but a very moist inside……yummy.

Here is the recipe……

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!
Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

Ingredients

150 grammes cooked pumpkin well mashed

150 grammes flour

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup sun flower oil

3 tablespoons grated white chocolate

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

 

Instructions

1. Pre- heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line a 12  section cupcake tray with liners.

2.In a medium sized bowl  sized bowl sift your ingredients,add your wet ingredients and using a hand mixer with whisk attachment,mix for 2-3 minutes till  combined.

3.Using an ice cream scoop,spoon  mixture into cupcake liners.It should be enough for all 12 of them.

4.Pop into the oven for 25- 30 minutes,you will know they are done when toothpick  inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs.

5.Remove from the oven,leave to cool for 15 minutes then remove them from tray and serve.

Can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Photo credits:Broccoli Crazy!

 

MY RUBBED IN BUTTER AND SPRING ONION CHAPATI RECIPE

Chapati chapati..how many ways do i love thee…

I could go all Shakespearean and spew odes about chapati

This Asian delicacy tha is a favourite of mine is something I could eat all week.

In a forum that I am a member of,someone asked how she could make the perfect chapatis.

Everyone gave her ideas on how to make them but they forgot to give her the measurement of the ingredients she would use to make them.

Like cake making,chapati making is a precise art,once you get the measurements wrong nothing ever seems right after that.

In a bid to correct this I have written out my fool-proof chapati recipe that has everyone asking for more.You can find a another recipe chapati recipe where i mixed wheat flour with  gram flour here .

I need also to mention that to be great at making chapatis,you need patience and lots of practice,i will never forget how first chapatis  were as hard as biscuits with time I have become good at it.

Butter and spring onion chapatis

Ingredients

2 cups each white and brown flour plus an extra 1 cup for rolling out and needing

3 level tablespoons softened butter

1.5 cups warm water

2 tablespoonfuls of chopped spring onions

1 level tablespoon of sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 cup corn oil

Method

1.In a bowl sift flour,sugar and salt together then add your butter.Using clean fingers rub in the butter in the flour till it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

2.Add your chopped spring onions and using a fork mix them into the flour.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and add the warm water and working from the centre outwards mix in the flour till you have a soft lumpy dough.

4.Turn the dough onto a clean surface and working with clean hands use your palms to kneadt he flour turning it over  frequently and making sure to dust flour  your working  surface to prevent the dough from sticking.

5.Chapati flour does not need to be kneaded for too long just work it till you have a soft ,elastic dough that does not stick to your work surface.

6.Once your dough is read,shape it into a ball .Clean your bowl,dry it and return the dough to the bowl , drizzle a tablespoon and a half of your cooking oil onto the dough then roll your dough round the bowl to make sure every inch is covered with oil.

7.Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside for 20 to 30 minutes to give it time to rest.This is what gives your chapatis a soft texture as the gluten strands have had enough time to rest from all the kneading .

Rolling out

After 30 minutes get your round ball of dough and using a sharp kitchen knife divide the dough into 2 equal halves then quarter it,each quarter gives your about 4-5 balls each of dough.

Rollout  each ball of dough out to about 1/8 of an inch round ,drizzle about half a tablespoon each of good vegetable oil and spread it evenly all over your rolled out dough, using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush.

Roll your dough into a thin  cylindrical shape and then into a spiral and set aside,repeat this with each of your balls .

Cooking

Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat,get each chapati ball and roll it out into 1/8 of an inch  round ,put it on the heavy skillet till you see bubbles on the surface then you know its time to turn,oil the cooked side then turn it over oil the second side,turn again and once it lightly browned your chapati is ready to be turned onto a flat platter and covered with a clean kitchen cloth.

Repeat this procedure with the rest of the balls of chapati.

BUTTER,BUTTER,BUTTER

Better English was an English grammar book we used in class 3  ..the year 19 something and it had some tongue twisters.

My favourite  at the time wa all about  Betty Botter and her butter.

It went something like this….

Butter..photo courtesy pinterest.com

 

Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter –
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

Maybe this obsession with Betty may explain my love for butter despite what health experts say that its bad for your arteries.

I don’t use it everyday  because like all good things moderation is key  but when I  do..

It is great especially when working with wheat and for popcorn,gives popped corn  a really nice buttery taste.

And for toasted bread ,especially when you want to make garlic bread…..scrumptious.

In terms of nutritional value;a gramme of butter gives you about 7 calories .

It is rich in vitamins A and E,Riboflavin which is also known as B12 an is important for body growth and in red cell production,it also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

It is also rich in minerals great for your bones and teeth  like calcium,phosphorus and potassium while also containing a good amount of sodium and small amounts of fluoride,zinc and magnesium.

The Kenyan dairy market has only two types of butter ;salted and unsalted butter.

Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted.

If you intend to use butter in your cooking use the unsalted one.

When using butter for any recipe scoop as much as the recipe needs  and refrigerate the rest.

When  making bread,cookies,cake,flat bread/ chapati or any product that calls for rubbing  butter into the flour  make sure it’s at room temperature before adding it to your flour.The exception would be in certain  pastry recipes where it may call for using cold butter.

If you are not going to be using the butter too quickly freeze it as this will help it keep for longer.

When using butter for frying,never heat it over high heat as t burns very easily,moderately low heat is best.

When using butter with other oils like sunflower oil,first heat the pan add the oil then add your butter .

Butter can also be added to soups to give them a glossy silky smooth texture.

Here is how to make coriander or dhania butter that you can use on toasted bread/crostini.Only make as much as you can use at a time.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander

Method

In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .

Spread it on fresh slices of bread and toast .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OATS

Oats have been cultivated for about 2000 years which is pretty young in grain years.

They were  a weed beforethey were domesticated.

They became very popular in Scotland and Ireland  as a food before their use spread to the rest of the world,interestingly in England oats were given to …livestock!

I was looking up ideas to help with breastfeeding when someone mentioned oats boost breast milk production and i decided to do some more research on their health benefits, to humans ofcourse.

Oats are great for breastfeeding moms as they boost milk production but they are also an awesome cereal for anyone looking to eat and live a healthier  life.

Immediately I went and got myself a pack of quick cooking oats which you can find in any supermarket

Here are the ones i got.

The oats…..

Cooking oatmeal porridge is fairly easy  and the pack I got had a recipe on its side ,after  modifying it to make a small bowl of oatmeal porridge, Emma was one well fed baby.

Read  some more about  the  benefits of oats here.

 

Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

5  heaped tablespoonsfuls  of oatmeal(1/3 of a cup)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

some milk/cream

sugar/honey to taste

Method

1.In a small saucepan on medium high heat  bring the cup of water to boil then add the quarter teaspoon of salt.

2.Once the water comes to a  boil add the oats and stir then let simmer for 5 minutes  on medium low heat.

3.Remove from heat and cover for a further 5 minutes then add cream or milk  and honey/sugar to taste.

Alternatively slices of fruits like bananas,a tablespoon of some dried fruits would be great too.

Bon appetito!

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ALELUYA…………MAANDAZI

A few …ok not so few years ago,when i was in primary school a certain Swahili lady whom i will call Asha( which may not have been her name anyway)  would come to the playground with a bucket of warm maandazis and she would sell them to us for a shilling each.

Ah the joys of looking forward to our break time/recess time and the sight of those golden bits of delicious goodness……

They were so tasty I have spent the past 20 or so years trying to recreate them without much success but this recipe comes really close.Thanks to my sister Becky for the original recipe which I tweaked just a bit.

There is always something about dishes from the Kenyan coast…your taste buds will burst into a heavenly chorus once you have eaten one of these maandazi’s .

Here goes…..

 

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 and a half level tablespoons butter.

2 tablespoons sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

grated rind of 1 medium-sized lemon

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparation

1.In a large mixing bowl sieve two and a half cups of  flour,then add sugar salt and the butter which should be at room temperature.Rub the butter into the flour till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.The remaining half a cup of flour will be for kneading and rolling out.

2.Whisk the eggs into a separate bowl and add the teaspoon of vanilla essence.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and pur in the egg mixture and whisk it into the flour with a fork.

4.Gradually add the cup of milk until you have a thick batter,then use you hands to knead it into a soft dough.

5.Turn the dough onto a flat floured surface and use the palms of your hands to knead it till its smooth ,make sure to dust the flat surface with flour and knead for 3-5 minutes till it no longer sticks to the surface.

5.Gtaher the dough into ball and cover with the glass bowl for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the dough to rest.

6.After an hour divide the dough into four equal parts with  a knife and roll into a ball.

7.Roll out each ball into a round shape of about 1/4 of an inch  thickness   each and use a knife/cookie cutter / to cut it out into the desired shapes.

8.Meanwhile in a medium-sized saucepan pour your vegetable oil and place it onto your cooker  over medium high heat ,let it heat through till hot.You can test if its hot  enough by dropping a small bit of dough into the fat,if it immediately rises up and turns brown after a few seconds its ready for deep-frying.

9.Fry the maandazi’s in small batches making sure not to overcrowd the saucepan as it will lower the temperature of the oil and make you maandazi’s greasy,make sure there is enough room for them to swim around.Fry till golden brown then scoop them out and into a bowl lined with paper towels.

10.You can dust the maandazi’s with icing sugar or desiccated coconut.

Buon appettito!

NB:Never ever fill a saucepan more than a quarter full with oil when deep frying.This is so as to avoid dangerous spill overs/spatters  when food is added ,fire and oil get along like a house on fire (pun intended).

All your ingredients should be at room temperature

CUSTARD APPLE

How many times have you passed by this fruit at your local market and wondered WTH it was?

Pile of custard apples together with red dragon fruit from 123rf.com

The custard apple is a very sweet fruit as a result of the naturally occuring sugars it carries.

It is very rich in Vitamin B1 and B2(Thiamin and Riboflavin)

It is also a good source of vitamin C,magnesium and potassium.

It ripens pretty fast once mature and its pulp can be blended with other fruits  to make shakes or with milk.

You need to sieve the pulp first to get rid of the seeds.

Its best to buy them when they arent ripe yet and store them in a cool dry place.

Follow this link that has recipes from the Australian Custard Growers Association on how to use the fruit for various dessert dishes.

Once ripe the outer flesh softens and gives slightly when pressed but you need to be careful it doesnt get too ripe which then turns the pulp inside  to a mushy consistency.

The flesh inside is white/off white and that’s what you want to eat, it is simply delicious!

PEAR – MELON SALAD

Pears are a great source of dietary fibre in the form of pectin and are great source of naturally occurring sugars in the form of sucrose,fructose.

They also contain potassium and vitamin C.

Store them in your refrigerator,packed  in a plastic bag for up to 3 days,after that they lose their crispness and turn soft and mushy.Its pear season in Kenya and just today after going shopping at my local market I was feeling really hot and decided to buy a really nice looking luscious pear and some water melon and decided to cool off after my lunch with this juicy salad.

 

Pear image from 123rf.com

Ingredients

1 medium sized pear,cubed

1/2 cup of water melon cubed

1/2 juice of 1 lemon

Method

In a small salad bowl mix the lemon and pear and squeeze the lemon juice on top then toss.

2.Sit on the couch put the first spoonful in your mouth close your eyes and chew slowly enjoying each crunchy bite

You can add any other fruit of your choice like sliced avocado,banana,strawberry whatever your heart desires.

Sorry i have to go back to  the kitchen to make more  salad.

Buon appetito!