Posts Tagged ‘cheese muffins’

When it rains it pours! I’ve just got so busy at work that I didnt get around to writing at all last week. I barely had time to cook and eat anything, never mind contemplate pausing long enough to take a picture and say something intelligent about my food. So as penance for my radio silence I leave you with two recipes this week.

Both have a common theme of cheese, which goes against my current pre-wedding theme of healthy eating (which come to think of it isn’t much of a theme since I spend as much time breaking it as sticking to it), but when the going gets tough…the tough sometimes have to indulge in a little cheese…

Cheese Muffins 3 ways

I have made cheese muffins on this blog before but I just got a new book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, which I was prompted to buy after reading this post by Chocswirl and I was dying to put some of the lessons on basic baking ratios  into practice (looking back at the recipe I used before I now know why these turned out better – butter!)… plus we needed something for lunch on Saturday.

This, combined with an inability to choose between making several different flavour combinations that Dawn and I had found in other recipes, resulted in this recipe for 6 of each. If you want to try the Ruhlman ratio out yourself then use this recipe for flavour inspiration only and go with the ratio for a basic muffin batter – 2 flour : 2 liquid : 1 egg : 1 fat – to make whatever quantity you need (the ratio is by weight not volume).

Basic batter (makes 18 muffins)

  • 375g plain flour
  • 375g milk
  • 187g melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Pizza Muffins

  • small handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Parmesan and Herb muffins

  • 50g grated parmesan (we actually made these with cheddar as we didnt have any parmesan so you can use either)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • few sprigs chopped thyme
  • 1 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Feta and Caramelised Onion Muffins

  • 50g crumbled feta
  • half an onion, finely chopped and fried until golden and soft
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped and fried with the onion
  • 1/2 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Prepare all the flavourings in 3 separate bowls and preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooled melted butter with the milk and eggs and beat until combined. The butter will start to solidify if the milk is too cold but it doesn’t effect the end result so don’t worry. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions and the flavourings to each one. Spoon into silicone cups or a lightly greased muffin tray and bake for 25min until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and cool slightly before serving (yummy with a lathering of garlic and herb cream cheese!).

Grilled Pork Loins with Caramelised Red Onion, Apple and Smoked Applewood Cheese

I owe Dawn for this recipe too. At some point during the muffin making proceedings she mentioned making pork loins topped with apple and cheese  like this and I immediately started thinking about how good that would be, especially made with Smoked Applewood cheese.  So by last night I was thinking about nothing else and had to make it today to get it out of my system. The sweet apple is perfectly balanced with the smoky cheese and caramelised onion, just served with a simple mash. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try this before.  Thanks D!

  • 2 pork loin steaks
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g grated Smoked Applewood Cheese
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until browned. Add the garlic and grated apple and fry a few minutes more until the mixture is softened and caramelised (don’t fry too long or the apples will get mushy).

Take off the heat, season with the thyme, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat another splash of oil over a high heat and fry the pork loins briefly on each side to sear the outsides. Place them on a baking sheet and top with the apple and onion mixture. Add the grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the steaks are cooked through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serve on a portion of mash (drizzle over the juices from the baking tray or gravy as optional).

Hope that makes up for last week’s absence and gives you something to perk up your week. Happing cooking! ♥

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What a week.

My new kitchen is finally in working order (and I choose the words working order as opposed to finished because its still not actually finished… trials and tribulations of which I wont go into) but on top of the chaos the building work has caused in our little house, I’ve had an exam to write (at 4pm on a Friday afternoon after a 3 day intensive course which frankly is just cruel) and roof disasters to deal with (‘disaster’ may be exaggerating slightly but its been a bad week).

The net result of all this is that I havent had any time to sit down and work on my blog so this one is a bumper summary of the week’s cooking adventures with a couple of recipes I wanted to share.

First something old…

Last sunday I was in the mood to bake. I’ve been thinking about cheese muffins for a while because I used to have them all the time in South Africa but the Scots dont seem to have discovered the joy that is the savoury muffin. There are 3 versions from my past that particularly stick in my head – the ones at our school tuck shop which I used to eat every week for 5 years of my life; the little ones that my friend’s mom used to make for parties at her house and were particularly addictive (thanks Mrs Shepherd!) and the ones at Mugg & Bean coffee shop which always had stomach-grumble-inducing flavour combinations and were large enough to double as a lethal weapon if flung at someone’s head.

So, to satisfy my nostalgia and my Sunday food cravings I decided to make my own and thankfully the results turned out to be worth writing about. I mixed some chilli in with the cheese in this batch for a bit of kick but they can be made without or with any other spices or ingredients that compliment the cheese.  They are great on their own with a cup of tea or as a side with a bowl of soup and my favourite way to eat them is just cut in half , toasted and lathered in butter. Hopefully they will remind some of you of home. And hopefully they will introduce some of the rest of you to the tummy comforting effects of the cheese muffin.


Something new…

Having made the muffins, there was still a biscuit shaped hole in my Sunday afternoon. I’ve never actually made biscuits and I wanted to try something new so I made these sugar biscuits from another blog I’ve discovered on my wanderings. I was going to make them into sandwiches with different fillings but they turned out to be really big (they spread quite a lot when they’re baking) so you wouldn’t ever get one in your mouth if they were stuck together. They were good on their own but not very exciting so I dipped the bottom of each biscuit in dark chocolate. The result is a chewy vanilla biscuit enveloped in a lovely velvety little chocolate sock, especially velvety when dunked in a cup of hot tea or coffee!


Another highlight of my week was dinner on Wednesday night. We were back at Howies in the west end for a celebration with family and it was every bit as good as the first visit. I tried the duck liver pate with onion chutney this time as well as my favourites from before and it was delicious, very creamy and full of flavour.

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur and not as productive due to previously mentioned evil exam. I did make a new batch of pizza dough before things descended into chaos – I use a recipe from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros and it never fails (further praise for Tessa, her pizza dough recipe and my homemade tomato puree recipe to follow soon!).

I have to end this post by telling you about the pudding I had last night.  It was so rich it just about put us all to sleep but it was so worth the soporific effects for the heavenly experience of eating it and all the week’s stresses melted away in one mouthful. We were visiting friends and my friend Dawn, who is as mad about baking as I am, introduced me to these little chocolate sponge puddings by Nigella Lawson. These babies are seriously good, you HAVE to try them.

Just don’t eat them before driving or operating heavy machinery.


This week’s recipes…

Cheese Muffins

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 sweet paprika
  • 2 cups grated mature cheddar cheese (the stronger the better)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • small handful of parsley, chopped
  • Optional – 1/2 a red chilli or a few sweet piquante′ peppers (e.g. Peppadew ones you can buy in a jar), finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade and grease a muffin tin. If you use muffin papers it’s still worth greasing them as the muffins tend to stick to the paper if you try and eat them when they’re still hot. Otherwise leave them to cool completely and they shouldn’t stick but who has that much self control?

Sift the flour twice, holding the sieve as high as you can to air the flour as much as possible. Then add the baking powder, salt, sugar and paprika and mix gently. Add the grated cheese and chillies or any other ingredients you’ve chosen.

In a separate bowl mix together the egg and milk and then fold into the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the muffin tray so each one is 3/4 full and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place in the oven for 12 minutes or until the muffins bounce back when you touch them. Let them cool slightly on a rack before serving. They keep for about 2 days in an air tight container if you have enough restraint to make them last that long.

Sugar biscuits with chocolate socks

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run.

Makes about three dozen large biscuits but I recommend making them smaller which would also produce more.

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 100g dark chocolate for dipping

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Combine the sugars together and then add the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, salt, eggs and bicarb. Whisk well to combine. Add the flour and stir. The dough will be semi-dry. Roll out little balls of dough on a lined baking sheet. Press each dough ball with a fork to flatten and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for eight minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a rack to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Dip the bottom of each biscuit into the chocolate and smooth with a spatula. Leave on a tray to set and then store in an airtight container.

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