Friday, August 15, 2008

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Try making these spicy fruit muffins for a delicious weekend breakfast. Recipe makes 12 muffins.


2 cups self-rising (raising) flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ounces (50 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring essence
1/3 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Thoroughly grease 12 muffin tins, or put 12 muffin paper cases on a baking tray.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer or rotary beater. Stir in the melted butter, grated apple and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the raisins and milk; stir until combined.
4. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the flour mixture. Be careful not to over-mix. Spoon into the prepared tins or paper cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen and golden brown.
5. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve while warm with orange marmalade or apricot jam.

Tip: For a more wholesome muffin, replace half the flour with wholemeal self-rising (raising) flour. These muffins will keep fresh for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can freeze the muffins in sealed freezer bags for up to 3 months. To use, thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or defrost in a microwave oven.

Microwave Coconut Ice

Fast, easy and full of mouth-watering flavor, coconut ice is an all-time favorite candy or sweet treat. Recipe makes about 18 squares.

Power: 100% (High)


1 pound (500 g) icing sugar
3 1/2 ounces (100 g) butter
2 tablespoons condensed milk
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Red food coloring


1. Combine icing sugar and butter in a microwave safe bowl, cook for 1-2 minutes and then stir.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the food coloring) and stir. Cook for 4 minutes then beat until the mixture thickens.
3. Line an 8 inch (20 cm) square cake tin or oblong container with foil and spoon in half the mixture.
4. Add 2-3 drops of coloring to the remaining mixture and stir to combine. Spoon over the first layer and chill to set. Cut into squares.

Tomato Flan

This savory flan made with fresh tomatoes has an authentic Italian flavor and is an impressive lunch dish or vegetarian meal. Recipe serves 6.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leave
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 ounces (100 g) butter
2 tablespoons iced water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 red peppers (capsicums), cut into thin strips
1 medium carrot, sliced
Ground black pepper
5 ripe plum tomatoes
15 black olives, pitted and halved
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil leaves


1. To make the pastry: Place flour, thyme, basil, salt and butter cut into cubes in a food processor. Process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add enough iced water for the pastry to form a ball. Cover with plastic food wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out pastry and line a 10 inch (25 cm) flan tin. Bake blind at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 15 minutes.
2. For the filling: Heat oil in a fry pan. Add the peppers, onion and black pepper. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool to room temperature.
3. With a slotted spoon, spoon the filling into the pie shell. Don't use any of the liquid.
4. For the topping: Halve the tomatoes, scoop out the center and slice in halves again. Arrange decoratively with the olives. Combine the garlic and oil and sprinkle over the top along with the pepper, thyme and basil.
5. Bake in a 375 degree F (190 degree C) oven for 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.