22 April 2013

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

I love looking at the ingredients in my fridge, having a bit of time, and thinking about what I can cook. My main ingredient was raspberries, I tipped the Bacardi bottle upside down and it was sadly empty, so a Mojito was out of the question, I contemplated Creme Brulees, but thought the hours on the treadmill to burn them off wasn't worth it (I would quite happily eat them all), I'll save them for a dinner party. So....in comes muffins, the ultimate in share food, I could quality test one or two that afternoon with hubby, and take the rest into work the next day to share, not too generous though, as I needed two for breakfast (quality checking of course) before anyone else got a look in.

I used fresh raspberries, and love fresh raspberries, but this is a recipe that is great with frozen as well, and to be honest they hold their texture well.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 grams white chocolate (chopped) or chips if you can get them
  • 225 mls milk
  • 150 mls cream
  • 125 grams butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 250 grams raspberries, fresh or frozen (be gentle with fresh raspberries)

  1. Pop the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk or stir to mix and aerate the ingredients.
  2. Add in the milk, cream, butter, vanilla essence and egg and mix briefly.
  3. Add in the chocolate and raspberries and stir very briefly to combine, but keeping a few of the raspberries whole.
  4. Bake at 200 degrees celsius (380 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 to 20 minutes until a skewer comes out of the muffin clean.
into the muffin tins

after baking

7 April 2013

Stuffed Peppers (Biber Dolmasi)

Across the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean kitchens they stuff things, from vegetables to vine leaves to bread and pasta - they enhance the flavour by changing the texture and taste of the original ingredient to create something awesome.

There is something so refreshing about a whole pepper stuffed with a fragrant rice mixture, filled with crunchy pine nuts, succulent currants and finished with the clean flavours of lemon and mint, and a good glug or three of good quality olive oil. I've made a vegetarian version, but traditionally this is a meat dish, using ground beef or minced lamb. The filling can also be used to stuff other vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, or popped into vine leaves and steamed. 

Finally, don't be shy with the olive oil, I've used 3 tablespoons in cooking the rice, but added extra to the cooking dish.

Rice Stuffed Peppers

  • 8 small peppers (capsicums)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small fresh tomatoes, or 2 tomatoes from a can of tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup pine nut, toasted
  • 1/3 cup currants or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1.   Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onion, cook for 10 minutes stirring until onion has softened and add the rice. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and add the water or stock.

2.   Cook until the liquid has been absorbed and then add the remaining ingredients. The mixture will be slightly uncooked.

3. Cut the top off the peppers, and carefully remove seeds and membrane, leaving the peppers whole. Stuff with the rice mixture and place the top of the pepper back on, or a slice of tomato (which is more traditional). Put them into a dish that allows you to stand them up so they don't topple over.

4.   Empty the juice from the canned tomatoes into the dish, squeeze the remaining lemon half on top and drizzle in some more olive oil. Cover and bake at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 to 40 minutes until rice is cooked. Alternatively, stand the peppers in a saucepan, add water to come one third up the peppers, drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until cooked.

5.   Serve with fresh lemon, thick yoghurt and chopped mint.