Best Ever Chocolate Muffins

best ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirl

“Mama these are the BEST EVER CHOCOLATE MUFFINS!”

The pint sized food critique didn’t have a whole lot of chocolate muffin eating experience to go on, but I ran with her bold statement and have therefore named these, one egg- not crazy chocolatey- not super rich- easy peasy- lunch box muffins to be….the Best Ever Chocolate Muffins (some things in life you don’t need to argue about.)

Arguing against licking the spoon is also pointless, it’s a birth right for who ever is home with me when cakey kind of good things are being made.

best ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirlbest ever chocolate muffins || cityhippyfarmgirl

Best Ever Chocolate Muffins

1 egg

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

100mls grape seed oil

2 tsp vanilla

3 tbls cocoa powder

1/2 cup natural full fat yogurt

1/3 cup milk

300g (2 cups) self raising flour

In a mixer add egg and sugar. (If using an Assistent Original, medium speed for four minutes.) While mixing slowly drizzle the grape seed oil. Add vanilla, cocoa, yogurt and milk (low speed for one minute.) Add self raising flour and gently fold in.

Divide mixture into muffin trays and bake at 180C for approximately 25 minutes.

Eat with enthusiasm.

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Lemon Ricotta and Almond Cake

Lemon and Almond Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Lemon Almond and Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

If I’m lucky enough to get to 85 years old I’ll probably eat cake for breakfast.

Straight up. A big chunk of cake on my favourite plate and a extra large cup of chai on the side.

I was certainly encouraging for my grandmother to eat cake for breakfast on her birthday recently. Not just any cake but this one that I made for her. It’s got almonds, ricotta and low in sugar, with some careful thinking I would say this cake ticks quite a few boxes for a slight woman in her eighties and the first meal of the day.

It also happily ticked a few birthday cake boxes. The requirements were gluten free, low sugar, not chocolatey and not ‘eggy’. With the satisfying soft scent of lemon billowing done the hall, I’d say this simple cake was done and dusted, (and dusted with icing sugar that is.)

Lemon Almond Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Lemon Almond and Ricotta Cake

150g softened butter

2/3 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

zest of two lemons

200g almond meal

250g ricotta

icing sugar

Cream butter and sugar together. Add beaten eggs and zest of two lemons. Fold through almond meal and ricotta. Pour into a greased and lined springform pan. Bake at 180C for about 45-50 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Kitchen Creations

crackers || cityhippyfarmgirl

The last few months have seen a lot of these crackers being made. Dead easy to make, with only a handful of ingredients in them. My recipe is over on the forever wonderful Milkwood blog if you are interested. (Just quietly, you’ll never walk down the cracker aisle again…this is an excellent thing.)

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Tomatoes in all shapes and sizes, forms and colours, (and just as they should be) are working their way on to my kitchen bench top. Some grown by me and some via my OOOOBY box.

rocky road  apple || cityhippyfarmgirl

Ahh, now what’s this beauty I hear you say? Which is pretty much what I said when I walked passed a particularly enticing window display that I hadn’t seen before. I quietly go to the chiropractor one evening with no expectations of purchasing anything besides ongoing good healthy (thank you chiropractic care) and come home with this divine little chocolate encased creature. I hadn’t seen apples done like this before…how on earth could I say no? (And yes, there was a crispy, crispy fresh apple under there.)

cream || cityhippyfarmgirl

There has also been some Eton Mess experimenting done. This experimenting shall continue as much like the apple above, I was impressed, oh yes I was.

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How about you? What’s been happening in your kitchen lately? Have you seen apples like this before? Are you a fan of Eton Mess? And crackers- do you make your own? (ps. If you would like to give this recipe a go and are on instagram tag them #supermarketcrackerspffft I’d love to see them!)

Linking in with Ms Celia today and lots of other amazing kitchen goodies.

Banana Smoothie Ice Cream

Banana Smoothie Ice Cream || cityhippyfarmgirl
 This isn’t rocket science here. It may not even be life changing…

but it might just be helpful!

What to do- Make your every day banana smoothie as you normally would (go on, add in an extra banana for good measure.) Now pop it in the freezer and leave it for a little. For ease of eating, don’t wait until it’s frozen through.

Guaranteed to make small people happy on hot summer days, and big people rather content.

To make this, I whack in…

4 bananas

1 tsp vanilla

some milk

Whizz it all up and into the freezer. Drizzle on some honey just before eating and spoon out as you would regular ice cream. Just the thing for cooling off on a hot day.

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Do you have any regular foods you tweak for extra hot days?

 

Easy As Biscuits and doing what you can

snack time biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently hosted a particularly nasty guest, called virus.

For weeks.

Yes, (too many) weeks.

It seems half the city is currently hosting under similar circumstances and I can tell you, it hasn’t been pretty.

Walking (dragging) our feet to school and it’s like a conga line of Village of the Doomed. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze, and cough from every street corner. It’s not just any cough either. It’s a lung squeezing, lift your feet off the ground kind of cough that leaves you gasping for air and clinging on to the closest adequately secured devise around, (telegraph poles excellent, small rickety fences- not so much.)

We walk, and bleary eyes meet. A slow blink of understanding, and brief head tilt towards each other. We are understood. The healthy ones file past. Determined in their stride, they look joyously towards a hopeful horizon, they have their health, and anything is a possibility. Not us though, eyes are dark, sunken and averted in an effort not to talk to anyone that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Now once all the fluid had partially drained from my head, ears, eyes, lungs. I was left with a small urge to bake. Not a big one mind. It certainly wasn’t going to be a three course dinner extravaganza, with a conveyor belt of baked goods throughout the day in a lead up to dinner.

No. All I set out to do was bake some biscuits. Lunch box stuffing, hollow legs, hunger nags and after dinner top ups kind a biscuits, (cookies if you are in the land of stars and stripes.) They worked out, filled up bellies and I’m now counting on two hands how many times they’ve been made since.

a little snack biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now during this time of compulsory hosting, it became terrifically clear that…

1/ I was really going to have to take some time out of the kitchen while getting better.

2/ Life would continue on. It seems I need these kind of health shake ups occasionally to remember these things. Those moments of not pushing yourself, instead just doing what I can and when I can.

Yep, pretty simple really.

Easy As Biscuits

200g melted butter

100g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

50g sunflower seeds

200g rolled oats

handful of sultanas

handful of chocolate buttons

150g wholemeal spelt flour

1 beaten egg

Add all ingredients together, mix it up and roll into balls with slightly dampened hands, (stops it sticking.) Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Store in airtight container and eat with enthusiasm, (and try not to cough.)

Love, Lavender…and well, pickles

sri lankan love cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

daikon pickle || cityhippyfarmgirllavander || cityhippyfarmgirl

Getting a daikon in my vegetable box was met with a little ooooh, now what might I do with that? I’d never cooked with them before, hadn’t seen any recipes and quite possibly I wasn’t sure I’d even eaten any before either. Hooray for delivered vegetable boxes I say, because it completely gets you out of any cooking ruts you might have accidently fallen into. It’s now a vegetable I actively seek as, in this super simple pickle form, well it’s quite delicious.

Little sprigs of lavender are constantly gracing my kitchen window sill. We have a prolific bush out front that produces and produces. Easily adding a little purple distraction to an other wise messy and cluttered tiny kitchen. Distractions like these are most welcome.

Now it had been awhile since I had made Sri Lankan Love Cake. Quite awhile. My love for anything Sri Lankan orientated hadn’t dwindled since I had last baked it, so there was a certain amount of nostalgic mixing on putting the cake together. I had scrubbing elephants in a river to think of, small beach side swinging hammocks to fondly recall and food. Rather a lot of delicious food, that really is something else.

Love Cake recipes seem to vary a fair bit, and as I’ve never actually eaten anyone else’s Love Cake, (sounds slightly raunchy doesn’t it) I’m really not sure how my version (s) compare. Online recipes seem to have rather a lot of eggs, which I haven’t used quite so much here. I have tweaked it a little bit since the last time I baked it though, and using the rose petals rather than rose water. I like this edition a little better and visually, well it’s hard to take a bad picture if something is sprinkled in icing sugar and showered in rose petals….I think even a sausage would look good with that combination.

Sri Lankan Love Cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl  copy

Love Cake

150 gms crushed cashew nuts (cadjunuts)

150g semolina

2 eggs

4 egg whites

150g sugar

150g softened butter

2 tbls rose petals

1 1/2 tbls brandy

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, brandy, rose petals, spices and cashew nuts. Fold through semolina.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks appear and fold into mixture. Cook in a square tin, greased and lined with paper, (or well greased bundt tin as I have here). Bake at 180C for approximately 25-35 minutes or until golden.

 

The Stars Dance Again

lemon and vanilla stars || cityhippyfarmgirl

lemon and vanilla stars recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Soon our school will be holding it’s annual school disco again. Flicking through my archive of short stories, I was reminded of this post. That little almost convulsing dancing boy I still see in the playground from time to time. He’s bigger now and probably doesn’t even remember that intense dance-off he once did. I did though, and it still gave me a chuckle just reading about it.

In honour of school disco’s and the joy of uninhibited dancing, I made a few more of those dancing star biscuits.

lemon and vanilla stars simple recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 lemon vanilla stars

200g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp lemon rind

225g plain flour

squeeze of half a lemon

Cream butter and sugar, add vanilla and lemon. Then mix through the flour. Roll between two sheets of baking paper, and chill a little in the fridge.

Cut out stars and bake at 170C for about 15 minutes.

This dough also freezes easily into a log, just cut off rounds to bake as you need them.

school disco essentials…surely

custard tart vs chocolate pudding

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently made a chocolate self saucing pudding.

It was fairly forgettable really.

Prompted from a chat on instagram, I wanted to revisit my early teen winning staple. And I really mean staple. I made those chocolate puddings on a weekly basis at one stage. Fueled by my love of anything dessert orientated and driven by a new found kitchen freedom that one seems to acquire after a certain period of time that has passed of proving yourself. Yep, I could bake them alright, and along with it feed my hungry mouthed siblings all through the long winter months. (Which weren’t particularly long, but it does sound more dramatic.)

The question was, would I be doing the same for my own children? Would the humble self saucing chocolate pudding become a family favourite as it once was mine?

Errr, no. No it won’t be.

I made it. It was pleasant, and that was about it. It seems my chocolate pudding days go no further. After 20 plus years of not making it, it seems my palate has completely changed. No longer sated by a simple concoction of self-raising flour, sugar, and cocoa. It really just didn’t do anything for me.

Now I could adapt a recipe, make it my own. Throw some more ingredients in there that are more attune to what our young family enjoys, however I probably won’t… as instead I revisited the humble custard tart.

And that dear people, was well worth the revisit.

Given that I have a long held history with custard anything, it would have been a shame if this one didn’t cut it. At times in my younger life I may have been held up by custard. It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned the love for custard on the blog, (nor probably the last.) But what I will mention is the tart disappeared far quicker than the chocolate pudding, which unfortunately seemed to quietly whither within the fridge over a period of days.

This recipe isn’t very complicated. There is no resting of pastry, no straining of custard, and if you feel like that second slice…I say go right ahead.

custard tart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Custard Tart

Pastry

180g cold cubed butter

50g icing sugar

1 egg

250g plain flour

In a blender pulse, butter, flour and sugar together until it forms bread crumbs. Drop an egg in and a give it a quick whizz. Pop the mixture out on to a lightly floured bench top and gently knead until the dough comes together. Between two baking sheets, roll it out to about .5cm thickness. Plop the dough into your greased pie or tart dish, keeping one side of the baking paper on there. With the baking paper side up, add pie weights or something to weigh the pastry casing down- bake blind for about 20-15 minutes or until golden at 180C.

Custard

600mls milk

2 tsps vanilla

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cornflour

50g melted butter

nutmeg

Add all ingredients except milk and nutmeg together to form a paste like consistency. In a pot over medium heat, add all of the paste and slowly add the milk, stirring continually. Keep stirring until the custard just comes together and then take it off the heat. (If by chance you get side tracked, and your custard gets a little lumpy- wizz it with a hand held mixer- voila! smooth custard.)

Pour custard into the tart shell and grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top.

Eat with enthusiasm and noisy laughter.

simple custard  tart recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Carrot Top Pesto -ELC #5

carrot top pest recipe || cityhippyfarmgirlThe day I found out I could eat the tops of carrots was a bit of an exciting one.

“You can eat them!” I cried.

“Excellent.” He said, in a less than thinking it really was excellent, voice.

I pushed that lack of enthusiasm to the side as I was carrying more than enough excitability for this one to carry us both. Carrot tops eh? Who knew, actually it turns out lots of people knew, and I was just a bit slow on the uptake. So that’s why they quite often sell bunches of carrots with the tops still on… I just thought they were trying to keep the carrots looking au natural. 

What would I make with them? How would they taste? And would I get it by the rest of the family?

Carrot Top Pesto

Bunch of carrot tops, washed and finally chopped.

A couple of cloves of garlic

Juice of a lemon

Enough olive oil to get a good pesto like consistency.

Pop it all into a hand held mixer, and pulse.

With Carrot Top Pesto made, what was I going to eat with it? I had some potatoes that were whispering to be popped into the oven with some rosemary, and that looked like it could be it. Too simple? Surprisingly no. Mr Chocolate drizzled his with some Pukara balsamic vinegar, (which gave it an extra zing) and not a murmur of objection was to be heard about the ‘different’ pesto.

The following day I had more of the potatoes and pesto together, leaving out the snow pea shoots, (which just quietly I feel are a bit of a chore to eat.) Delicious, seriously delicious. I kept taking another bite just to makes sure. Armed with an empty bowl and green speckled lips, I decided that yes, carrot top pesto was indeed a winner.

A local, frugal, seasonal winner.

carrot tops || cityhippyfarmgirl

How about you? Have you made any food discoveries lately? Ever made carrot top pesto? Do you think snow pea shoots are a bit of chore to eat as well?

Where did my food come from?

Carrots- Rita’s Farm, Kemps Creek 50km

Sebago Potato- Naturally Grown, Naturally Better, Crookwell 240km

Snow Pea Shoots- Lin’s Organics, Londonderry 60km

Rosemary- My courtyard

Lemon- My parents in law’s backyard

roast potatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

Eat Local Challenge #4

Eat Local Challenge #3

Eat Local Challenge #2

Eat Local Challenge #1

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

Cauliflower Curry- Frugal Friday

cauliflower || cityhippyfarmgirlcauliflower curry || cityhippyfarmgirl

The good thing about having a blog is that you can see how you have changed over time. Looking back on your words, thoughts, photos and certainly for me, my recipes. Sometimes I feel those recipes need a little shake up.

Now come winter time, this dish (or a variation of it) often turns up on our dinner table. It’s easy, it’s seasonal, it’s super frugal and it deserved a better picture than this one from three years ago.

easy cauliflower curry recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

 Cauliflower Curry

1/2 a large head of cauliflower

3 potatoes

3 sticks of celery

6 cloves of garlic

1 finely chopped onion

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder ( a bit old school, but I like it)

400mls coconut milk

Dry fry the spices, onion, garlic (fresh chilli if you are feeling bold) and celery in a little vegetable oil. When they smell delicious, add the coconut milk. Let it simmer for a bit and then add your potatoes and cauliflower. Pop the lid of the pot on and cook it until they are as soft as you like.

curry