Recipe – Apple muffins

I’m always on the look out for ways to use up what I have without having to buy a whole lot of new ingredients, so I adapted this recipe for apple muffins from some other muffin recipes I found and I must say they taste yum!

Ingredients –

* 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

* 1 tablespoon caster sugar

* 3/4 cup milk

*  1 egg

* 1/2 cup vegetable oil

* 3/4 cup brown sugar

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 cup apples (finely chopped or pureed)

 

Directions –

* Preheat oven to 160°C. Spray two mini muffin trays or two regular muffin pan trays.

* Combine the flour, caster sugar and brown sugar in a bowl.

* Add milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix until just combined.

* Mix in apples.

* Spoon mixture evenly between pans (you want to make each spot about 3/4 full).

* Bake for 10 minutes mini muffins or 15 minutes for regular muffins.  When you insert a skewer it should come out clean.

* Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Notes –

* I make mini muffin size for my twin toddlers as they are perfect size for a snack.

* You could adapt this recipe to use other fruit such as pear, blueberries or banana.

* These freeze so well, I freeze them in a container and take a couple out in the morning and they are defrosted in time for afternoon snack.

Recipe – Bacon and Egg Pies

So we have a huge accumulation of eggs at the moment so I went on the hunt for recipes to use them up.  But we are also on an extremely tight budget this week meaning I could only use what we already had.  I made some orange curd and meringues and have a frittata in mind, but a friend suggested I make some bacon and egg pies.  I found a few recipes but nothing really worked with what I had, so I put together a few bits and pieces and came up with this.  It has been a hit with both hubby and the boys, and with only a few ingredients is quite simple to put together.

Ingredients –

* 2 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed

* 300g bacon, thinly sliced

* 1 cup sour cream

* 1 brown onion, diced

* 8 eggs

* 1 cup shredded cheese

Directions –

* Preheat oven to 180°C.

* Lightly grease a Texas muffin pan and/or a regular muffin pan.

* If using a texas muffin pan cut pastry sheets into quarters, for a regular muffin pan you need to cut them into 9.

* Gently ease a square of pastry into each muffin pan.

* Cook bacon and onion in a small frying pan over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until light golden.

* Place three-quarters of bacon into base of each pastry shell.

* Whisk sour cream and eggs until well-combined.

* Spoon mixture over bacon.

* Top with remaining bacon, onion mixture.

* Sprinkle some cheese onto each one.

* Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is cooked.

* Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

 

Notes –

* You can substitute the bacon for ham is that’s what you have.

* The above mixture made 6 texas style muffin sized ones and 9 regular muffin sized ones.  The larger ones are great as a lunch on the run, while the others are perfect for snacks.

* Add in some fresh herbs if you have them on hand to give it some extra flavour, and add in your salt and pepper with your egg mix.

* Serve with tomato relish – yum yum!

* You could also throw in any other left over vegetables to this mix (I generally make “leftover” scrolls with all my odds and ends).

Recipe – Apple Pikelets

I’ve made these apple pikelets a couple of times now and I think they turn out rather well so I thought I would share the recipe…

 

Ingredients –

* 1 3/4 cups plain flour

* 2 teaspoons bi-carb soda

* 2 tablespoons caster sugar

* 1 2/3 cups milk

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 eggs

* 1 cup apple (chopped finely or pureed)

 

Directions –

* Put flour, bi-carb soda and sugar into a bowl

* Add in milk, vanilla and eggs whisk until just combined.

* Add in apple and stir to combine.

* Lightly spray a non-stick frying pan with oil.

* Heat over medium heat.

* Cook tablespoons of batter, in batches, for 1 to 2 minutes or until small bubbles appear on surface (I use egg moulds to get the round shape).

* Turn. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until cooked through.

* Transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

* Serve plain or with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

Notes –

* These do freeze well, so you can make a big batch and defrost as needed (they are just as yum cold!)

* Don’t feel like apple, try banana instead – just mash with a fork (I would say 2 average sized bananas).

Recipe – Toasted Muesli

So when we went shopping on the weekend my husband had a craving for muesli.  The cheap supermarket brand was not available and the brand names were ridiculously expensive.  So we looked at toasted oats, expensive.  So me, in my infinite wisdom, chirps up and says I can make you some toasted muesli, can’t be that hard.  It actually wasn’t that hard and worked out to be cheaper than the no name brand and yum!

Ingredients –

* 2 kg wholegrain oats

* 500g all bran

* 1kg dried mixed fruit

* 1-2 cups golden syrup or maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)

Directions –

* Preheat your oven to 160 degrees

* Heat your golden syrup in a small pot on the stove top until it starts to bubble

* On two baking trays evenly spread a layer of oats (you will be doing this three times minimum to do all the oats)

* Pour on a small amount of the golden syrup and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon

* Put both trays in the oven for 5mins

* Take trays out and stir the oats so that they evenly toast and don’t burn

* Put both trays back into the oven for another 5mins

* Take the trays out and pour into a large container (I used a roasting pan as it was the biggest thing I had)

* Mix in one third of your all bran and mixed fruit

* Scoop into airtight containers and store

* Repeat this process for the rest of your ingredients

muesli

Notes –

* This will keep safely in air tight containers for up to 3 months

* If you don’t have golden syrup or maple syrup you can also mix 3/4 cup of honey with 80g of butter or 1/4 cup brown sugar and heat until combined.

* This is the budget friendly version but there are lots of other things you can add into your muesli, such as nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans), sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds, cinnamon, coconut and other dried fruit pieces (eg. apple or banana).  It’s really up to your imagination.

Recipe – Beef Ragout

I got a version of this recipe off taste.com.au but it just didn’t work for me, so I adapted it so that I could put it in my slow cooker and just leave it. Its a hit in our house, served with some pasta.

 

Ingredients

* 1.8kg beef bolar blade, cut into chunks

* 250g short cut bacon, finely diced

* 4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

* 4 celery sticks, finely chopped

* 2 brown onions, finely chopped

* 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

* 4 tins of diced tomatoes (410g cans)

* 1 and 1/2 cups red wine

* 3 dried bay leaves

* 2 large sprigs rosemary

 

Directions

* Heat a large pot (or your slow cooker if you have a searing pan) over a medium head with a small amount of olive oil

* Add bacon, carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes

* Stir in the beef, tomato, wine, bay leaves and rosemary and bring to the boil

* Transfer to your slow cooker

* Cook on high for 3 hours or until the beef falls apart

* Using tongs take all the beef out of the pot

* Shred all the beef – I use two forks, one to hold it and one to shred the meat, but you can do it with your hands

* Place beef back in with the sauce and stir well

* Cook for another 30mins with the lid off to allow the sauce to thicken (all slow cookers vary so if it is very watery add in some tomato paste)

* Serve with pasta and parmesan cheese

 

Notes –

* This is a great pasta sauce to freeze, just allow to cool and freeze in meal size portions

* This should easily serve 8 people, but you can add in even more vegetables to both hide them from the kids and bulk it out

 

Recipe – Creamy Mango Puree / Ice Cream

So when the boys were little I made lots of puree for them and I would freeze it all into ice-cube trays and then transfer it to plastic snap lock bags. As they got older and started eating more I started freezing it into avent storage cups.

I came up with lots of recipes to try new flavours and this one puree I still use for the boys but now I make it as an ice cream. So I either freeze it into storage cups and we eat it with a spoon or I put it into icy pole containers. I know it’s not the right time of year for ice cream but with both my boys teething with their molars it is actually a perfect food to have for them as it numbs their whole mouth and besides its yum!

Ingredients
* 2 ripe mangos
* 2 bananas
* 1/4 cup plain yoghurt (or vanilla if you are making your own easi yo like us)

Directions
* Cut the mango into sections and scoop out the flesh
* Transfer to a food processor or blender
* Add in the bananas and yoghurt
* Puree / blend until smooth
* Transfer to containers
* Freeze overnight

If you have a baby you can still use this as a puree (from about 8 months is the recommendation), just spoon feed it to your baby or use a pouch (like we use the my lil pouch). Or you can freeze into ice cube trays and pull out the night before to defrost. You could also add cubes to smoothies with some milk. Yum!!

mango

Recipe – Asian Chicken Broth

I love this soup in winter, I originally came across it in a AWW cookbook but have since adapted it to suit my needs.  There are several ways you can have this which I have outlined at the bottom.

 

Ingredients

* 1 litre chicken stock

* 1 litre water

* 1 stalk lemon grass, finely chopped

* 4cm piece ginger, sliced thinly

* 2 small red chillies

* 2 tablespoons soy sauce

* 1 tablespoon lime juice

* 1 tablespoon fish sauce

* 1 bunch choy sum, chopped (can substitute bok choy or pak choy)

* 500g chicken mince

* 3 cloves garlic, crushed

* bunch of coriander (chop part of it finely and the rest leave whole)

 

Directions

* Combine the chicken stock, water, lemon grass, ginger, chilli and soy sauce in a large saucepan.

* Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5mins

* In a bowl combine chicken mince, garlic cloves and the finely chopped coriander

* Roll this mixture into balls (I make mine slightly bigger than a tablespoon)

* Add balls to the simmering broth and cook for 5 minute (or until balls are cooked through – this will vary depending on how long you leave it for)

* Add lime juice, fish sauce, choy sum and cook for a further 2 minutes

* Add some coriander just before serving

chicken broth

 

Notes

* You can have this as a plain broth, just don’t make the chicken balls

* Another options is to have this as a clear soup, with or without the chicken balls (as pictured).  Don’t add in the choy sum or coriander and after cooking your chicken balls in the soup, take them out and strain the soup.  Add the chicken balls back in and enjoy!