Saturday, April 25, 2015

Irish country style buttermilk, bran and blackberry muffins

A fiber and fruit filled breakfast treat based on a recipe by .
It takes its inspiration from traditional soda bread, and uses soda, buttermilk and blackberries (fresh or frozen) in its composition.

If you want it fresh in the morning you can leave the mixture overnight in the fridge.
For me its a handy thing to make when baking bread or pies anyway - so you don't waste energy.
The batch is sufficient for 11 or 12 muffins

You will need:
75 grms (1 cup) wheat bran
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk - yogurt can be used as a substitute or a mix.
80ml (1/3 cup) rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil. Unsweetened applesauce can also be used
1 egg
95 grms (2/3 cup) brown sugar
125 ml (1 cup) self raising flour
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
About a 100 grms (1/2 cup) blackberries (you can also use other seasonal fruits or raisins)
You can add some vanilla extract if you like
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 F)

Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. 
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes. 

Beat together oil, egg, sugar (and vanilla if wanted) and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in any desired fruits and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Try not to overcook - 15 minuted should do it in a fan assisted oven.

Cool and enjoy!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

First Vodcast!! Review of sistema microwave rice steamer (and steamer basket)

Well, its been a while. This is the first vodcast for the blog - a review of two highly recommended items for the microwave.

In the long term, I hope to produce a few more vodcast's / videos on growing your own food, cooking etc. but also product reviews - here's the first.

Sistema ( of New Zealand produce a BPA free plastic range of cooking utensils and storage solutions.
I bought the steamer basket first, then the Rice steamer.
The rice steamer can also be used for polenta, quinoa, cous-cous and I'm working on lentils.

The sistema range is made in New Zealand, ethically and environmentally sound.
This is something I consider to be very important, workers conditions are as important to me as environmental practice, we are after all a part of the environment!!

I just want to be clear that this is an independent review. I do love New Zealand, a small Island on the periphery like our own, and this does breed innovation.
I also like the fact from their website that they have grown on merit and excellence, and not outsourced.

I got mine in TK-Max but the range is easy to find on Amazon etc.

As a guide line, 100 grams of rice with 175 ml of water takes 10 minutes.
I normally leave it sit another 5 minutes.
The rice NEVER STICKS, easy to clean, dishwasher safe.

The only suggestion I would make to sistema is that they might imprint or print the guidelines for time and weight for rice, quinoa etc. on the back of the spoon or side of the rice steamer bowl.

The basket steamer is really handy. Great for spinach, cabbage, kale etc.
Potatoes take only 10 minutes on high in a 700W oven. For salad and waxy potatoes that's it.
For more flowery varieties I drain, then just leave sit in their own heat for 5 minutes.

Highly recommended - 10 out of 10

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