Pages

1 April 2012

Muppet Muffins


It was a fine, sunny morning. Unsuspecting Cookie Monster and Elmo were sitting on a plate, doing... whatever it is that Muppet Muffins do in the mornings. Little did they know that a monster was luring around the corner, grinning his teeth, planning the perfect crime in his sick, tangled, blood-thirsty mind.






Chocolate Chip Muffins:

Ingredients:



  • 300g self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 150g of milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line 12 muffin cases.
  2. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and the chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk and vanilla extract together, then pour the mixture all at once into the dry ingredients and mix briefly.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen, golden and firm to touch. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.



Chocolate Muffins:

Ingredients:



  • 250g self-rising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175ml milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 75g plain or milk chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Line 12 muffin cases.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder; stir in the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and mix lightly together.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases. Bake for approximately 20 mins. Cool for 10 mins.


Decorating:

Ingredients:


  • icing sugar, 1 glass
  • desiccated coconut, enough to cover all the muffins
  • white chocolate buttons for eyes
  • black icing pen
  • jelly beans (only the orange ones) for Elmo's noses
  • red food colouring
  • blue food colouring
  • an empty jar
  • Chocolate chip cookies

  1. Mix the icing sugar with a little bit of water to create a thick icing paste. Add the water one teaspoon at a time until you get the right texture - you want to add enough of water to make it an easily spreadable paste, but not so much that the paste will flow off the muffin.
  2. Split the icing into two parts. Dye one red and the other one blue.
  3. Pour a little bit of blue food colouring into an empty jar. Then add desiccated coconut. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it until the coconut is evenly dyed. If you need to add more dye, pour it into the jar directly on the glass, not on the coconut. Repeat the same with red colouring.
  4. Cover half of the muffins with blue icing, and then sprinkle them with blue desiccated coconut. These will be Cookie Monsters. Repeat the same with red icing and coconut. These will be Elmos. :)
  5. Use the white chocolate buttons and the black icing pen to make eyes. Make Elmos' noses with orange jelly beans. Use the icing pen to make Elmos's mouths.
  6. With a sharp knife, cut Cookie Monster's face. Yes. Then put a cookie in it :)


Shashliks Recipe



One of my favourite dinner recipes. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, adjusted to my personal polish-ish cooking style. Beautifully simple. Deliciously rewarding. Reminds me of summer barbecues, holidays in the Mediterranean, sun, and all the reasons why I'm NOT a vegetarian.




Shashliks:


Ingredients:
  • diced chicken breasts
  • diced pork
  • diced beef
  • shallots, peeled and halved
  • mushrooms
  • red and green peppers, cut into squares (more or less the same size as the meat dices)
  • Spices (I had a kebab/gyros spice mix - http://www.rajsmakosza.pl/images/przyprawa_kebab_gyros_prymat.jpg - available in any Polish shop. If you don’t have it, you can use some paprika, mustard, coriander, marjoram, juniper, rosemary, black pepper, chili powder, all spice, nutmeg, salt or garlic – or any combination of the above).
  • A tiny splash of lager (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Skewers

Note: you want to have a balanced amount of all the ingredients in each shashlik. I didn’t provide any quantities, but the general rule is: prepare more or less the same amount of pieces of each of the ingredients.

Note #2: Go crazy with the meat. I used chicken, pork and beef, because they're readily available from Asda, but if you want to add anything else - lamb, veal, bacon, other poultry - trust me, it will work.


  1. Put the peppers, shallots, mushrooms and meat in a bowl. Add the spices and a bit of olive oil (enough to lightly cover all the ingredients), cover with a lid or cling film and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. I usually leave the ingredients to marinate overnight. You can add a little bit of lager as well if you want, it adds an interesting flavour.
  2. After marinating, put the pieces on skewers in alternating order.
  3. Cook under a grill until the meat is done. Turn occasionally to cook it evenly from each side.



Tzatziki:



Ingredients:
  • Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 fresh cucumber
  • fresh garlic (quantity depending on how much you like garlic – I used about 3 million cloves. I like my garlic sauces to burn the inside of my sinuses.)
  • Greek spices (of your liking, I added a little bit of oregano, basil and marjoram)
  1. Chop the cucumber very finely. If you’re lazy, you can grate it on a cheese grater, but this way the cucumber will release a lot of juices and make the sauce very watery.
  2. Mix the cucumber with yogurt, crushed garlic and spices.
  3. For best results prepare at least half an hour before serving and keep in the fridge.



Garlic+Chili+Herbs Rice:



Ingredients:
  • fresh garlic (again – quantity depending on your liking. I used 3 large cloves)
  • 1 bird’s eye chili
  • 1 tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 glass of rice
  • 2 glasses of water
  • Dried herbs (I used oregano, basil, thyme and a little marjoram)
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Put the olive oil in a saucepan and add finely chopped garlic, chopped chili and spices. It’s important to add them before you start heating up the olive oil, otherwise the world will implode. Fry them for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the rice, fry for about 5 minutes on low heat or until the rice starts getting a bit of a golden colour.
  3. Add water and salt, stir once and leave to cook until the water is nearly completely reduced. Stir again and fry a little longer until all the water is gone.
  4. (Optional) Put a portion of the cooked rice in a small cup (pack it quite tightly), turn the cup upside down over a plate, et voila – you have a nice neat pile of rice. If it’s too sticky and doesn’t want to come out of the cup, run a knife along the inside walls of the cup.

Cool Fruit Salads

Me playing around with food carving and other ways of making fruit salads more attractive to certain devoted carnivores :)