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STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM MUFFINS

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Strawberries and cream are a match made in heaven and this easy recipe is a great way to simply bring them together. I love these for brunch, afternoon tea or simply to add to the lunch box.

Makes 12 large or 15 medium muffins

ingredients

6 cups self raising flour

2 ½ cup sugar

250g fresh strawberries cut into bite size pieces

3 eggs

1 ½ cup milk

¾ cup unsweetened natural yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g mascarpone or cream cheese

1 orange, zest only

Method

Preheat oven 190C

Grease the muffin tins with butter or spray oil

Put the flour and sugar together in a large bowl and mix to combine, add the strawberries and combine.

In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients, eggs, milk, yoghurt and vanilla.

Finally combine the mascarpone and orange zest and mix to combine, set aside.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently together until just combined.

Spoon enough of the muffin batter neatly into the tins so it’s half full. Add a teaspoon of the mascarpone mixture onto the centre of the mixture and cover with enough muffin mixture to cover. The mixture should fill the muffin tin ¾ full.

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the muffin centre springs back when lightly touched.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes before removing. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

 

SUMMER MINESTRONE SOUP

soup

Once again I am bringing the new season summer produce together. This refreshing soup works wonderfully hot or chilled along with the addition of my pungent smashed basil this takes the soup to another level.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 litre good quality vegetable stock

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium sized onion, diced finely

2 medium courgettes, diced

250g firm potatoes (jersey benne), slice thinly

1 bunch asparagus (if in season), sliced thinly

1 cup broad beans, skinned if possible

1 cup peas

1 cup fresh basil

75g fresh grated parmesan

Extra virgin olive oil for serving

Sea salt flakes, freshly ground pepper

Method

In a large pot add 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the onions, cook over a moderate heat without colouring (5 minutes). Add the courgettes and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Cover with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, add the potatoes and reduce the heat. Cook until the potatoes are just tender (10 -15 minutes depending on size).

Whilst the soup is simmering away make the basil paste to serve with the soup. I use a mortar and pestle but you can easily chop this by hand. Place all the basil leaves and the finer of the basil stalks into the mortar add a pinch of salt and mash or chop the basil until a coarse, fragrant paste occurs, add the parmesan, stir in the extra virgin olive oil. Set aside until needed.

Finally add the broad beans, peas and asparagus, season with salt and a little pepper, taste and adjust if necessary.

Serve either hot or chilled with a generous spoon of the basil paste.

 

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BROWNIE

cherry brownie

This densely decadent brownie with the added delight of fresh drunken cherries (best soaked overnight) will be a memorable addition to the festive season.

Makes 20 squares

ingredients

2 cup (300g) cherries, stones removed

200ml port

250g butter, cut into pieces

300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup Brown sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla essence

1 ¾ cups gluten free flour or plain flour

1/3 cup dutch cocoa, more for dusting

Method

Preheat oven 180C

Soak cherries in port for at least 6 hours if possible overnight.

Line deep sided 25-30cm by 18cm tin with greaseproof paper.

Melt butter, sugar and chocolate together over a double boiler.

Lightly whisk eggs in separate bowl and add to the brownie mixture, mix until well combined.

Then add dry ingredients and mix lightly until just combined. Fold through plums and port.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until just set. It is important to slightly undercook this as it is meant to be dense rather than cakey.

Cool, and cut into desirable sized pieces and finish with a dusting of cocoa.