Applesauce muffins

These muffins are based on the previous recipe, Pumpkin muffins, but aren’t gluten free.

Inspired by a jar of apple sauce that needed using up, and having a day of board games planned, baking muffins to feed our friends (other than crisps, fried stuff & sandwiches) sounded like a good idea.

The muffins are ready in 45 minutes. Total. Of those, 30 minutes are baking time, so you can do your cleanup meanwhile. Quick bakes are also a bonus point in my book!

Applesauce muffins

Applesauce muffins

Ingredients

  • 350 grams applesauce
  • 80 ml mild (olive) oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 grams cane sugar
  • 200 grams flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp speculaas spice mix

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line 12 muffin tin with paper or silicon liners.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. In a blender, mix applesauce, olive oil, and sugar. Blend until smooth. Add eggs and pulse until mixed.
  4. Add applesauce mix to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide dough between the 12 cavities.
  6. Bake at 175°C for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in muffin enough to handle, remove muffins from tin and let cool on rack.

Pumpkin muffins (lactose & gluten free)

Lately I am experimenting with dairy / gluten / egg free baking. Having friends that are allergic / intolerant to one of more of those, and me liking a challenge, baking for them is a good opportunity.

Pumpkin Muffins Photo credit: Nadege

Pumpkin Muffins
 Photo (c) Nadege Biojout

 

These muffins are both dairy & gluten free, but do contain eggs. I will experimenting with the egg part next. I am happy to say that they have a nice earthy spicy flavour, and a fantastic soft moist crumbly texture. Texture wise, they are faboulous, to be honest!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (to make: cut sweet pumpkin in quarters, scoop seeds out, and steam pumpkin for 25-30 minutes, or until the flesh starts to separate from the skin, scoop the flesh from the skin, mash, and measure) (to be updated with metric measurement)
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 grams cane sugar
  • 75 ml olive olive (use a mild one)
  • 60 grams corn-based all purpose gluten free flour (basically a mix of corn starch, corn flour, guar gum)
  • 60 grams quinoa flour (ground quinoa flakes works well)
  • 60 grams (white) rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2  tsp each cinnamon, ground ginger, all spice & chinese 5 spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Place rack in middle of oven. Line 12 cavity muffin tray with paper liners or silicon liners.
  2. In a big bowl mix pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar and oil very well with an immersion mixer. Alternatively you can use a blender.
  3. In a small bowl mix all flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt & spices. Add to wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until no blobs (very technical name) of flour are left.
  4. Divide batter among the cavities of the muffin tray.
  5. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins cool enough to remove from tray, transfer to cooling rack and let cool (or enjoy warm, if you cannot wait).
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Open muffin showing the texture

I really couldn’t wait to eat them so I forgot to take a picture before I started. Here you can see the nice crumb & fluffy texture of the muffins.

The bad thing about technology…

… such as smartphones, is that it becomes obsolete. And after a while, it starts to fail. And that’s what’s happening with my trusty Nexus 4. I’ve had it for more than 2,5 years and lately it keeps dropping cellphone and gps reception. Which is annoying when you use it to navigate and are in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, since I don’t like paying premium for my phones, and I don’t require tomorrow’s technology – but I do want something better than I had, I decided to get a OnePlus X. And this is the story of that purchase (the phone hasn’t arrived yet).

So, I selected my phone & accessories on the site, and clicked on purchase. This requires you to make an account. Ok, create an account: username, email & password, please check this box to let us know you’re not a bot. I got my account confirmation email, clicked on the link, account confirmed. So then I go to sign in, and hey, why do I bother with an username, when I have to use my email to log in! First failure on their part.

Ok, logged in. Go to my cart: your cart is empty! Apparently, they ate all the cookies and didn’t want to save my cart. Fine. Go shopping again. Wait, why is now everything in $ instead of €? Go back to check my account settings – I had already filled in name & country, but apparently these settings do not get transferred to the shopping settings, which you have to fill in, again, manual. It feels like it’s 1999! Fine, fill in it all again, and finally be able to shop for the phone. At least they take paypal, so I did’t have to go get my credit card and auth dongle to pay :D

Lastly, realize phone takes nano-sim, current phone takes micro-sim card. So I had to order a replacement from MobileVikings (affiliate link, please change provided, gimme credit!) – which used to be free, but now it costs 5€. Oh well. Now to see if the stars align and everything arrives on time.

Crackers, because I can

Yep, making crackers, because they are easy, and fast, and taste so much better fresh from the oven and I know what’s in them. And they happen to be vegan.

Crackers, Grommit!

Crackers, Grommit!

Ingredients:

  • 200 gr flour
  • 120 ml room temperature water
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Make them:

  1. Mix all ingredients together (by hand with a fork or with a kitchen robot – you might want to double or triple the recipe in the later case). Knead a couple times by hand to form a nice smooth dough. Form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and stick in the fridge for at least an hour, up to a day.
  2. Let dough come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C & line 1 baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Roll the dough about 3mm thin (this is easier between cling film or silicon baking mats). Prick all over with a fork. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut into squares about 5cm in side. Brush with water & sprinkle with some sea salt / dried herbs of your choice (sprinkling optional). Move to lined baking trays.
  4.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden.
  5. Let cool on a rack slightly before tucking it, lest you burn your mouth!

Mushroom & Tofu Sang Choy Bau

Today’s dinner brought to you inspired by a recipe that I read somewhere, and with the “40 days without meat”1 campaign in mind.

Mushroom & Tofu Sang Choy Bau

Mushroom & Tofu Sang Choy Bau

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 250 gr block firm tofu
  • 10 gr / ~ 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 500 gr mushrooms, clean & sliced
  • 1 orange (or yellow) bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 small tin (70gr) tomato concentrate
  • 1 tbsp mushroom “oyster” sauce (or the real thing if you’re not vegetarian)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pack (150 grams) straight-to-wok noodles

How to:

  1. Wrap tofu in a couple paper towels and press dry with hands. Cut in 1.5cm cubes. Heat up a non-stick pan on medium, once it’s hot, add the tofu cubes, and let them cook without touching them for 4-5 minutes, until golden, then turn, and repeat until all sides are golden and slightly crunchy.
  2. Heat up oil in a wok. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Add the bell pepper & half the spring onion, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the tomato paste, mushroom “oyster” sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek & garlic powder with 3-4 tbps of water, enough to make it pourable (might need to add some more water). Add to the mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Add the noodles, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. At this point, all sides of the tofu should be golden. Add tofu to the mushroom mix. Stir to coat.
  5. Sprinkle remaining spring onion on top before serving.

Bon appetit!

What have I been up to

The last five months have been rather quiet around these parts, and it’s not for lack of things happening, but exactly the opposite. There has been so much going on that I haven’t had the time to write about our vacation or post a recipe (or even a picture) here.

First things first. I graduated! It took 14 years, two countries and a change of degrees, but I am officially an Engineer. Official title being Master of Science in Civil Engineering. Fancy, ain’t it? In order to achieve this, of course, I had to finish my master’s dissertation, write a whole book on it, and defend it in front of my promoter & advisers, plus an infiltrate (foreign doctorate student) that was happy my defense was in English and not in Dutch so he’d be able to follow along. A few weeks later I got to wear a graduation gown and cap and throw said cap in the air for the pictures :)

And then we worked hard for three weeks to get our house(!) in order so we could move in. That meant very long days sanding and prepping walls and ceilings, painting and more painting, installing flooring and bathroom furniture and a whole lot of cleaning. Also getting the kitchen installed (snafu from the company: our counter was requested without a hole for the induction stove, we’re now waiting for it to be replaced).

We then had a fun 1st of November. Epic moving weekend! We managed to move everything with the help of friends & family, and we’re now getting slowly into the hang of (new) things. There are still a few things to finish around the house but it gets done bit by bit.

And finally, the job search for me. Looking for a position as an in-office engineer, doing calculations & stuff. There are many positions for construction managers, but not that many for designing engineers it seems. So the search goes slower than I wish. I have also had my fill of “your profile is very interesting for our company, but we don’t have a matching position at the moment” replies. When they called me!

Anyway, that has been the last five months of my life. Time has flown by and I hope next year I have (make) more time for posting here.

Cinnamon oatmeal cake

It’s Jan’s birthday, and the birthday boy deserves a birthday cake. I gave him three options to chose from: lemon curd filled lemon cake, chocolate cake or cinnamon oatmeal cake. He chose the latter, because it sounded “weird”. So I adapted a recipe from Dessert for two a little bit, and here we are!

Cinnamon oatmeal cake with salted caramel sauce

Cinnamon oatmeal cake with salted caramel sauce

Cinnamon oatmeal cake

(adapted from Dessert for two)

Ingredients

  • 15 gr oats
  • 60 ml hot water (straight from the kettle)
  • 85 gr salted butter (or use unsalted and add a pinch of salt)
  • 35 gr dark brown sugar (cassonade)
  • 30 gr cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 gr all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 15 cm spring form with parchment paper and grease. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl / ramekin, add oats & hot water and set to soak.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar very well. Then add the egg and mix (it’ll split, it happens).
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda & baking powder. Add dry ingredients and soaked oats (and if there is liquid left, the liquid) to the creamed butter mix, and stir until combined.
  5. Transfer batter to lined spring form. Bake in oven on center rack for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove cake from oven, let it cool for 5 minutes before removing from spring form.

Salted caramel sauce

(adapted from Cookies & Cups)

Ingredients

  • 25 gr butter
  • 75 gr cane sugar
  • 100 ml cream (20% fat)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a big microwave safe bowl melt the butter. Then add the sugar and cream and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Microwave on high (750W) for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir.
  3. Microwave again for 1 minute, until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from microwave, add salt & vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cashew nut dip / spread

Cashew nut dip

Cashew nut dip

Ingredients:

  • 120 gr roasted cashew nuts, soaked in water for 3-4 hours & then drained
  • 4 spring onions, white parts only
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp freeze dried shallot
  • 3 tbsp (10 gr) nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbps (20 gr) olive oil
  • 60-100 ml water

Make it:

Put all ingredients in a food processor (starting with about 50 ml water). Process until creamy, adding water if necessary. Scrape the sides of the bowl often to obtain a nice creamy dip. Add more water if you want to turn this into sauce for nachos.