Tag Archives: brown sugar

Spicy Sauteed Pineapple

 

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I’m a firm believer that when you’re going to do a Sri Lankan feast, like all good Asian food you need the bastions of sweet, sour, salty and spicy present. As we eat with our hands and mix rice with the curries, it’s important, not that all of these elements exist in a single dish, but that they exist on the table itself.

Pineapple curry often helps fill that little sweet spot, and a little on the sour notes too. Often made with coconut milk, this version is all about caramelised onion and pineapple. Its also simple enough and quick enough that it could make an appearance on a weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of pineapple chunks in juice
  • 3-4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. ghee/oil
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. maldive fish
  • curry leaves

Preparation 

In the medium frypan add the pineapple (with the juice), the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook over a medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the pineapple begins to caramelize.

To the frypan add the oil, and the remaining ingredients. Fry over a medium heat until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.
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Mixed Berry Muffins

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My first year of teaching, I taught a year 1 & 2 combined class. Come Mother’s Day, we decided to keep it simple. We asked the kids to draw pictures of themselves and their mothers and we cut and pasted cardboard frames. We were a government school and so had limited access to cardboard, a green sheet and a pink sheet were all we could scrounge up. On the day, we let the kids choose their own colours. Predictably, the gaggle of 6 & 7 years olds picked along gender lines. The girls all picked pink and the boys, despite it being Mother’s Day, insisted on green. Except for one lone male, he marched up bravely and asked for pink. When I asked him why, he quietly explained that he wanted pink because his mum was a girl and she would like pink. Bless.

I guess that’s the thing about Mother’s Day, it doesn’t matter whether you buy your mum a diamond ring or make her a cardboard picture frame, as long as as it’s something SHE will like.

I like these muffins because you can make them your own. Choose whichever berries you like, add some cinnamon or even add some chopped nuts if that’s what your mum likes!

If you want to make these for mum on Sunday morning, have the dry ingredients measured out on the bench and the wet ingredients mixed in the fridge. Have the muffin cases all ready in the pan. In the morning, add the berries, mix the wet and dry and spoon into the cases!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 cups whole meal flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper baking cups.

Combine the yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and brown sugar into a large bowl. Gently stir the frozen berries and lemon zest into the flour mixture. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour and stir until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle muffins generously with the raw sugar.

Place muffin tin on the middle rack of the preheated oven.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Healthier Oat & Raisin Cookies

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Raisins are one of Mister C’s current favourite foods. They are the bane of my existence, I find the little black shrivelled masses everywhere. They’re especially hard to clean out off the black leather seats in my car. Having said that they usually keep him calm for extended car trips, relieve the sudden onset of tantrums and generally make my life more pleasant, so I’ll deal.

A week or so after we returned from Sri Lanka Mister C and I headed to Green Lake Park in Seattle for a walk with some friends. It wasn’t raining, which is all that can be said for the weather. Now Green Lake was one of those places that sounded amazing, the kind of “hip” place that the radio station I listen to (admittedly it’s NPR) refers to all the time. It’s full of joggers and mums with strollers. I was excited to get out and get some exercise in after being struck down with jet lag.

Now something I forgot in all my excitement was that Green Lake is 2.8 miles around. That’s a long way. That’s 4.5 km long way. Callum started complaining a mile in. Whinging turned to crying and crying turned to full blown hysteria. I threw everything I had at him, spoons, forks, phones….and even raisins. Nada. When the raisins didn’t work, I knew the jig was up. I scooped him up and proceeded to walk while pushing the stroller. He may be a featherweight but even lifting feathers will get to you after 4.5km. I felt terrible that my friends had to stop and start with us. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before the other two babies raised their objections to the long,cold walk. Unfortunately there was only one thing to do, keep walking around! That’s the beauty of walking around a body of water.

Lessons learned, walking 4.5 kms around a lake with a baby, even with raisins, is probably a bridge too far… to start with.

I made these for Callum for a special treat. They’ve got a bit of sugar but also have goodness like oats, raisins and wheat germ. Callum will happily munch on a small, Callum hand-sized one of these on our walk home from the park. Maybe Green Lake would have been less disastrous if there had been some cookie surrounding the raisins. These are not “healthy” but I’ve made them healthier by adding whole meal flour, some wheat germ (leave this out if you don’t have it) and cutting down the sugar. But oats and raisins, which this recipe has oodles of, do have their own goodness so don’t despair if you can’t stop at one!

These are based on a recipe I found here at the Beantown Baker.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 oz, or 115 grams) butter, at room temp
  • 1/3 cup (125 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (95 grams) wholemeal flour
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins

Preparation

Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in the bowl of your mixer. In a second bowl combine, the flours, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir. Finally add the raisins and rolled oats. Pop in the fridge for an hour to chill.

When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350F/180C and line 2 tray with baking paper. I use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. I give the dough a slight roll and flatten with my fingers.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges are just golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then gobble these babies up!

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Cranberry Orange Loaf with a Crumble Topping

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Here’s something ironic. I write a food recipe blog and I have trouble following recipes. I’m forever substituting, deleting, thinking I know better and generally being a know-it-all. Mr Firehouse is always commenting on this fact. Recently he spied me working in the kitchen, pen and paper in hand. He wanted to know what I was writing and I commented that I was writing down accurate measurements for a recipe, to blog about later. He was genuinely shocked. You see, I think he thought that my inability to follow a recipe was innate, something I couldn’t control. But often-times it’s not. Partly it’s my curiosity. Will it taste better with brown sugar instead of white? Will it cook faster if I parboil? And partly it’s a kind of experience. I know that the flavours of one recipe might be perfect, but I prefer not to follow the cooking instructions, because I’ve done it before, my way, and it’s worked. Sometimes, like for this particular loaf, it’s seasonality. I loved the idea of a yoghurty, moist, citrusy cake but blueberries are not in season and rather than use the frozen (and often just as good ones) I thought of trying a classic American fall combination of cranberry and orange.  The recipe for the cake comes from Donna Hay and was shared with me by my good friend and fellow baker Jill, all the way from Australia. I added the crumble topping for extra texture and also because as you now know, I can’t leave well enough alone.


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Ingredients 

  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup caster/superfinesugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated orange  zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups self-raising/self-rising flour, sifted
  • 150 g fresh cranberries

Crumble topping

  • 2 tbsp. cold butter chopped
  • 2 tbsp. of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 160C /325F. Place the butter, sugar, eggs,yoghurt, orange zest and vanilla in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk until well combined.

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Fold through the cranberries and spoon into a lightly greased loaf tin lined with non-stick baking paper.

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In a separate bowl place all of the crumble ingredients and using just the tips of your fingers rub them all together until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

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Sprinkle over the loaf  and bake for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

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Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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