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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Iced Vovo Cupcakes

iced vovo cupcakes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Mostly this is a household of wholemeal spelt, raw kale salads, buckwheat, sourdough and whatever is fermenting on the benchtop at the time. Occasionally all of that goes out the window and something like the Iced VoVo Cupcake comes along though.

I knew I wanted to make them. I’d been dreaming of how I would do so, but the right time just hadn’t come along yet.

Then it did.

The time was right and Iced Vovo Cupcakes was a surety.

You might have heard the squeals of delight from the pint sized ones as I put these on the table, (I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard them.)

iced vovo cupcakes recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl

Iced Vovo Cupcakes

150g butter

2 eggs

150g (2/3 cup) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

300g (2 cups) self raising flour

125mls (1/2 cup) milk

Marshmallow Topping

100g marshmallows

small amount of raspberry/strawberry jam

extra desiccated coconut for sprinkling

Cream butter and sugar. Add in vanilla, beaten eggs, and milk together than fold in flour. Bake in lined cupcake tray, 180C for about 25 minutes. (Or until light golden in colour.)

Marshmallow topping

In a bowl, microwave 100g of marshmallows for 30 seconds. The marshmallows will be soft, mix them around a little and then cool for about 5 minutes before you put them in the piping bag. Too hot and they will drip off the cake, too cool and they will just end up a sticky mess. Pipe them on, leaving a small hole for the jam up top. Pop them into the fridge to set them for 10 minutes. Add half a teaspoon of jam into the hole and sprinkle a little coconut on top.

Ready to eat!

iced vovo cupcakes || cityhippyfarmgirl

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.)

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

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

Sticky Ginger Ninja Cake

sticky ginger ninja cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Why I was experimenting with my recipes just a few hours before I was to present a dessert type dish to a bunch of unknown (and known) people, I’m really not sure.

Why not stick with a well worn recipe that I knew inside and out? (Well where’s the fun in that I say?) 

This recipe came out of the title really. I’d already named it before I had even made it. I knew I had pears to be used. I knew ginger is a winner with it, as I regularly make something similar. But sticky. I wanted it sticky. A little more flavoursome, and maybe just a little ninja-esque. (Well ninja rhyming with ginger, seemed close enough.)

I did also have lofty ideas of making a ninja’s face out of dusted icing sugar on each tiny square of cake, but sometimes even I have limits in complicating things just before we are due to go out.

sticky ginger ninja cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Sticky Ginger Ninja Cake

150g sourdough starter

150g softened butter

150g brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp powdered ginger

2 beaten eggs

3 tbls molasses

250mls of pureed peeled and cored soft pears

150g self raising flour

75g wholemeal spelt flour

extra brown sugar to sprinkle on top

uncrystallised ginger pieces

Cream butter and sugar together. Then add vanilla, ginger, beaten eggs and molasses. Fold through pear puree, sourdough starter, wholemeal spelt and finally the self raising flour. Sprinkle the cake with extra brown sugar and press uncrystallised ginger pieces within the uncooked batter. Bake at 180C until golden and smells like a sticky ginger ninja kitchen.

sticky ginger ninja cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

How to make fancy pants Flower Bread

how to make fancy flower bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

Bread is one of those things that at times look far more fancy than what it really is. Well, it can do anyway. This Flower Bread is one of them. An easy one to do if you want to team it up with a simple soup or alternatively, tear chunks off and slap some butter on those sides.

First up flatten your dough, this is done at the stage when you would normally shape your bread. (For a basic bread dough recipe see here for a regular yeasted one, or here for a simple sourdough.) Any old shape, as long as it’s the same thickness generally all around. Next you need to divide it into equal portions. I would normally do this as I go along. Again any shape is fine, and a rough triangle is excellent for the next step.

Next you are creating little balls. If you pull those corners into the middle (as if you were making a dumpling) it traps air in and creates a smooth outer surface. Pinch the ends together to seal it. Lightly plop it into some flour (this stops it from sticking to the board or bench top) and leave to the side. Carry on with the rest.

Once you have all your balls. Get two small bowls, one filled with water and the other with poppy seeds (or any other seeds, you might like to use.) Holding your ball of dough at the top where you sealed it, gently dip about a quarter of the dough into the water and then the seed bowl.

Next place them, seed side up into a lined cake tin. Depending on how big you did them, you should fit about seven. Six on the outer and one in the middle. Cover, and let them prove. Then bake at 230C with steam for about 25-ish minutes.

And there you have it… easy fancy pants Flower Bread!

how to make fancy flower bread || cityhippyfarmgirlhow to make fancy flower bread || cityhippyfarmgirl

Blueberry Cake and how did two happen?

blueberry cake recipe || cityhippyfarmgirl helping || cityhippyfarmgirl

There is a little lump in my throat this week,

she turned two, and I’m not sure how that happened.

Feels like nothing since I birthed that baby bundle in a pool by the dining table windows-

I still think of the afternoon light and the peaceful way she swam into this world.

Turning two meant there was birthday cake with her favourite, favourite “blues”.

She helped me make it, but we had to be quick-

one blueberry in the mouth and one for the cake.

There was a doll- the most beautiful doll you ever did see.

And after that, she will be two and one day, then two days and so it continues,

gulp.

lady || cityhippyfarmgirl a little vintage doll || cityhippyfarmgirl

A Little Vintage Store, is where the lovely doll is from. Beautifully handmade by Jennie in Brisbane, Australia- I’m in awe I really am. Love, love, love that this birthday present didn’t come from a department store with a ‘made in china’ tag.

cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Blueberry Cake 

300g softened butter

300g sugar

4 tsp vanilla

zest of one lemon

4 beaten eggs

600g self raising flour

125mls milk

approximately 300g blueberries or enough to cover the cake surface

Cream the butter and sugar together, add vanilla, eggs, lemon zest and milk. Then fold through flour. Into a greased and lined tin and arrange blueberries.

Bake until golden at 180C.

(Depending on your cake tin size, this recipes bake time will differ. Cooked as I did, it took forever (23cm)- but I wanted it tall. Baking it in a much wider cake tin will ensure a shorter cook time…or half the recipe, (but where’s the fun in that.)

Creamy Mint and Broad Beans- Frugal Friday

broad bean and mint-cityhippyfarmgirlbroad beans- cityhippyfarmgirlzucchini

I had broad beans and zucchini. Outside, a pot full of mint that was threatening to take over the entire courtyard if I was to let it. Cream that had been sitting on it’s lonesome for far too long and a little fetta that really, really needed sorting out.

What to make, what to make?

Creamy Mint and Broad Beans

A couple of good slugs of olive oil

pop some some new season diced garlic in

some grated zucchini

as many double peeled broad beans as you could be bothered

cook it down until soft

add a few good slurps of cream

salt and pepper to taste

then add some roughly chopped mint

crumbled fetta

and serve with brown rice or spaghetti

Eat with gusto

frugal friday- cityhippyfarmgirl