Kefir smoothies are my go to weekday breakfast. They are both nutritious and delicious and keep me going happily until lunchtime. Kefir is also incredibly good for your gut. This summery blueberry kefir smoothie is flavoured with rose and a bit of a treat.
Sweet and squidgy caramelised blueberry blondies made with British blueberries. Flavoured with lemon and white chocolate, which caramelises as it cooks.
Well it seems I was being a bit optimistic about blueberries being ready in our gardens this month, though I have seen British blueberries on sale in the shops. We don’t have blueberries down on the plot, but my mother’s crop still has a way to go before it’s ripe. Luckily, this set back didn’t deter some of you from entering this month’s We Should Cocoa and of course blueberries are pretty much available all around the world at any season these days.
Having set blueberries as the ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I’ve not managed to get my act together to bake what I had planned and I don’t think I’m going to before the deadline. However, a couple of years ago, I made these rather scrumptious blueberry and white chocolate flapjacks with some local blueberries, but for some reason never got around to posting about them. Here goes.
Following on from the success of my Red Berry Smoothie in a Bowl, I thought I’d try a smoothie in a sundae glass and eat it with a spoon. If you are going to eat something with a spoon, it encourages you to sit down – and a sit down breakfast is a rare treat for me.
When I borrowed the Primrose Bakery Christmas book out of the library a few weeks ago, I bookmarked several of the recipes. The one for blueberry cupcakes caught my eye, mostly for the fabulously coloured icing. It’s a rare occasion for me to use food dyes, but I do like my food to be colourful. Icing made with natural fruit juice is a win win and even more so with this sugar free version.
When CT requested a trifle for his birthday, I was just a little relieved. Time and I don’t seem to get on so well these days and the day before his birthday was a particularly busy one. I’d been concerned that I might not be able to fit a cake in, but a mere trifle?
Here are a few breakfast bites you might not have thought of sitting down to in the mornings. You’ll find mini reviews of gluten-free pancakes, lemon green tea, a muesli variety pack and Mexican hot chocolate. There’s also a recipe for chocolate sauce and a link to my rye sourdough recipe.
|Blueberry and Chocolate Chip Muffins|
I try to draft a post as soon as I have made something so I don’t forget what I’ve done. However, for one reason or another I don’t always publish immediately and some drafts get forgotten about. This is one such that I have just discovered from nearly two years ago. Sadly, the photographs are not up to much and I can no longer remember whose recipe I used as a guide. But I do remember they tasted good, so these blueberry muffins are finally getting an airing.
Having just picked up some cut price blueberries I thought I’d better hotfoot it back to the kitchen and make some blueberry muffins. Can you believe it? I’ve never made blueberry muffins before. This seemed a prime opportunity to use the flowery blue muffin cases that a friend gave me for my birthday, still lying homeless in my kitchen.
This is how I did it:
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a pan.
- Sifted 150g flour (50g spelt, 75g white, 25g coconut), 1/2 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1/8 tsp cinnamon into a bowl.
- Stirred in 75g cardamom (golden caster) sugar.
- Mixed 50ml creme fraiche, 50ml milk and 1 egg until all smooth.
- Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and poured in the egg mixture.
- Tried to mix this, but oh dear, it was way too dry!
- Added the butter hoping that would sort it out, but still to dry.
- Added some more creme fraiche and milk (nearly the same again) until I had a consistency I was sort of satisfied with.
- Roughly stirred in 50g 40% milk chocolate drops.
- Roughly stirred in 100g washed blueberries.
- Spooned the mixture into 6 muffin cases initially, but realised I had too much mixture, so added a couple of extra.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
Well eight muffins has got to be better than six. This gave me license to munch my way through the two extra ones whilst they were still warm – mmmmm – a very nice way to eat them. In my gluttonous haste I managed to burn my tongue with the first bite into the hot blueberry juice. I doubt I’ll learn the lesson though. The blueberries had burst and were all fruity and jammy with juice running everywhere. These were not very sweet and had more of a scone consistency than a muffin one. However, the coconut flavour was nicely evident and the tart fruit and semi-sweet chocolate was a very nice combination.
These muffins fit very nicely into a new challenge newly created by Victoria of A Kick at the Pantry Door. Feel Good Food is all about delicious but healthy food and this month it’s all about blueberries.
Biscuit recipes are my new obsession, especially easy biscuit recipes. I’ve always liked biscuits of course, but when it comes to baking, cake has always taken precedence over biscuits and cookies. I suspect being given Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne as a birthday present last year has something to do with it. A whole book dedicated to biscuits puts a different spin on things. It stayed at the top of my pile of bedside reading for a long time. Despite this, I’ve only made one recipe from the book: blackcurrant and white chocolate biscuits – until now that is. We were off to spend the afternoon with friends and biscuits being quick and portable were an ideal bake to take along. To fit in with my supposed Healthy January, I went to Miranda’s Almost Healthy Biscuits section of the book for inspiration. I got no further than the very first recipe, Super Berry Heroes – excellent, some healthy goji berries and blueberries to give a much needed nutrient boost would be my berries of choice. Not only did these contain an interesting flour mix of spelt and rye, but also included cocoa.
I was recently sent a jolly red pot of Food Thoughts fairtrade, organic cocoa powder to try out and I was very keen to do so. Green & Black’s being fairtrade and organic is my go to cocoa, but it’s always nice to have some choice. As soon as I saw the organic status was certified by the Soil Association, I felt reassured as they and Demeter are the only certifying bodies I really trust. Fairtrade is really the only way to go – cocoa is a luxury and the people that grow it should be properly recompensed for their efforts. This cocoa comes from the Dominican Republic.
I thought it would be fun to do a taste test with the three cocoas I happened to have in the house: Food Thoughts, Green & Blacks and Bournville. As well as the obvious colour differences, they were all quite distinctive in taste. Bournville is a very pale powder with a sweetish taste, but is rather insipid and lacks character. Green & Black’s is very dark, robust and bitter. Food Thoughts is midway between the other two in terms of colour but has a richer chocolate taste than either. However, in terms of packaging, Bournville gets the brownie points. The Bournville pot is about 3/4 of the size of the Food Thoughts one and yet they both contain 125g – when waste is such a big issue for us, over packaging is unnecessary and undesirable.
We are a household of regular cocoa drinkers, but make it with no sugar, mostly water and just a dash of milk. I was interested to compare this with our usual Green & Blacks. In addition to the colour difference, we immediately noticed it had a more refined taste. It was smoother and less bitter and we really liked it.
This is how I made
Blueberry, Goji Berry, Spelt & Rye Cookies
- Creamed 120g salted butter with 100g vanilla (golden caster) sugar and 85g muscovado sugar until soft and pale.
- Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and one duck egg.
- Sieved in 60g wholemeal spelt flour and 80g rye flour, together with 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp cocoa powder (Food Thoughts).
- Added 85g rolled oats.
- Grated in 1/8 tsp nutmeg and mixed together.
- Stirred in 40g goji berries and 50g dried wild blueberries.
- Rolled teaspoonfuls of mixture between my hands to make about 30 walnut sized balls.
- Placed well apart on lined baking trays and baked at 180C for 13 minutes.
- Left to cool for a couple of minutes, then transferred to a wire rack to cool completely.
Food Thoughts Cocoa is available at Sainsbury’s and retails at £2.20