Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gorgonzola Pepperoni Pizza Muffins #MuffinMonday

As I write this and schedule it to post on Monday morning, the moving company folks have just called it a day for day one of Pack Out Cairo.  We have two more days of packing up and then on Tuesday, the 40-foot-high-top container will arrive and they will attempt to make all the boxes fit into that sucker.  Always a nail-biter but I am feeling good this time.  I have bought just a couple of things since we moved to Cairo and they aren’t big.  And I have given some stuff away.  And we came 11 months ago with the same size container.  So: feeling pretty good.  Also feeling pretty good about Muffin Monday this week!  Finally, a savory muffin!  Anuradha didn’t tie us down to one recipe, just an ingredient: Cheese.  Well, you know I am all over that!  So I had a rake through the freezer and the cheese drawer (You don’t have a cheese drawer in your refrigerator?  Well, why the heck not?  I am flexible on what can go in there and, so, there is actually a baloney from Bologna there too.  And some beef salami.) and came up with some gorgonzola, pepperoni and a bag of frozen homemade pizza sauce.  Oh, yeah!  But you knew that from the title already, didn’t you?  As they say in Malaysia, you so smart.   Make this muffin.  You even smarter.

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1 egg
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil
1 cup or 240ml pizza sauce, divide into 1/2 cup or 120ml for muffin and balance for topping
100g Gorgonzola (And other strong cheese can be used as well.)
50g pepperoni

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and generously grease your muffin tin or use paper liners.

Cut your pepperoni into pieces and grate or cut your cheese into chunks.  My Gorgonzola had been in the freezer so, as you can see, it crumbled when I tried to cut it.   If you would like, reserve 12 small pieces of the pepperoni to put on top of the batter before baking.

In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, crushed red pepper and dried oregano.

Add the cut pepperoni to the flour mixture and use your hands to separate the little pieces from each other.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and oil together.

Add your wet ingredients to your dry and mix just until it is just combined.

Gently fold in half of the pizza sauce and all of the Gorgonzola cheese.  It's NOT pretty but don't let that put you off.  It will be delicious.

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tin.

Divide the remaining pizza sauce between the muffin cups.  Top with a little piece of pepperoni, if saved.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes then remove from the muffin pan and cool on a rack.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gram's Fig Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze for #BundtaMonth

This summer I went to a farmers’ market in New Iberia, Louisiana with my grandmother.  We bought a bunch of figs and I made her fig preserves.  I mean I made fig preserves for her, from HER own recipe.  Simplest recipe ever and you can find it here.  On that same visit, she let me clear out the drawer of recipes and cookbooks that she had accumulated over the years and take them home with me.  Amongst them, I found her handwritten recipe for fig cake with buttermilk glaze.

Unfortunately, I had sent her all the fig preserves I made so, how to make the cake?  Until I found this on the shelf at my local Carrefour in Cairo.

Back in business!  Are the Carrefour preserves as a good as Gram’s homemade ones?  Probably not.  But this cake is awesome and delicious and it is also my contribution for November’s edition of BundtaMonth where we are making spice cake.  Scroll on down to the bottom of this post to see links to all the lovely spice Bundt cakes that have been made this month.   Gram has a serious sweet tooth and I think she would like them all!  Many thanks to our hosts for this challenge:  Anuradha at Baker Street and Lora at Cake Duchess.


My grandmother will turn 99 years old next month – on 22 December - and we are hoping and praying that she continues in good health so we can celebrate 100 years next year.  And many birthdays thereafter.  We think she has a shot at a world record.  She still asks to go to the casino on her birthday because they give her free money to gamble!  We should all live so long and so well.

Here she is hopping up on the red swing in her yard last summer.  Red has always been her favorite color and the swing is her favorite place to hang out.

Her one true love lately is this cat she calls Minou. Which means Kitty in French.  All of her cats over the years have been called Minou.  Because she has a great sense of humor and it keeps life simple.

And one last photo where she is smiling.  That's a hard one to catch.  With her two youngest children, my Aunt Nonnie and Uncle Kippy. :)  My father is her eldest and he just turned 77 this month.  Imagine if your child is 77!  Love you, Gram!

For the Bundt:
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups or 340g sugar
1 cup or 225g butter, melted and cooled
1 cup or 240ml buttermilk
3 eggs
1 cup fig preserves (if using homemade, chop the figs and use the juice as well)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans because I am pretty sure that’s what Gram would have used.)
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:
1 cup or 220g sugar
1/2 cup or 120ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon corn syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons or 60g butter

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease and flour your Bundt pan liberally.

Mix dry ingredients, add butter and beat well.

Add eggs one at a time, alternating with buttermilk.

Scrape down the bowl.

Then add figs, nuts and vanilla.  Beat for another couple of minutes on medium.

Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes then run a knife or wooden skewer around the pan edges to loosen.  I clearly overfilled my pan so I had to cut around the middle to make sure it would release.

Put your cake plate on top of the Bundt pan and invert.  If you have greased and floured it well, the cake should drop out easily.  Allow to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, let’s make the glaze.  Mix all ingredients and boil for six minutes, stirring constantly.  The original recipe says three minutes but the glaze was very runny and I figured, even on a cooled cake, most of it would end up on the cake plate below.

Allow to cool until it thickens slightly.  Drizzle over cake.

This glaze hardens somewhat and turns almost clear on the cake, making a shiny sticky, chewy outside which is the perfect match for the tender crumb inside.  I cannot tell you how freaking good this is.  Hats off to you, Gram!  It’s a winner.


Check out all the other BundtaMonth cakes for Spicy November:

Apple Bundt Cake with an Attitude by Deb | Knitstamatic
Blueberry Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Anuradha | Baker Street
Cardamom Bundt Cake with Rosewater Glaze by Paula | Vintage Kitchen
Cinnamon Crown Bundt Cake by Renee | Magnolia Days
Ginger Pear Bundt Cake by Holly | A Baker's House
Gingerbread Apple Cake by Lora | Cake Duchess
Gram's Fig Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze by Stacy | Food Lust People Love
Italian Anise Bundt Cake by Karen | In The Kitchen with KP
Maple Pecan Bundt with Maple Glaze by Jennie | The Messy Baker Blog
Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake by Alice Choi | Hip Foodie Mom
Moroccan Inspired Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Ras El Hanout by Laura | The Spiced Life
Nutmeg Bundt Cake by Dorothy | Shockingly Delicious
Peach and Roasted Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Sugar by Kim | Cravings Of A Lunatic
Spiced Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon Glaze by Kate | Food Babbles
Spicy Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake by Carrie | Poet In The Pantry

Here’s how you can join #BundtAMonth  -
- Bake your Bundt for November following the theme – Spice.
- Post it before November 30, 2012.
- Use the #BundtAMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title should read #BundtAMonth: Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt)
- Add your entry to the Linky tool below
- Link back to both Lora and Anuradha’s announcement posts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cranberry Clementine Muffins #MuffinMonday

Is there anyone who isn’t a fan of Nigella Lawson?  Okay, don’t answer that because I don’t really want to know.  This season of US election vitriol has left me weary of dissension and backbiting and intolerance.   Plus I adore Nigella so I would have to leap to her defense and, frankly, I have been traveling and staying up late nattering with good friends, eating good food and drinking good wine, and I just don’t have the energy for jumping about defensively.  Anyway, the point is she has some wonderful recipes and even if you don’t like her seductive manner or are jealous of her ample cleavage, you have to agree about that.  One of my very favorites is a clementine cake (originally from her How to Eat) which calls for boiling the whole fruit and then pureeing it.  When I got the recipe for this week’s Muffin Monday, I was mulling the options for a dried cranberry muffin and the friend I am staying with this week said, “Why don’t you add orange zest?  Orange and cranberry go so well together.”  And Nigella’s clementine cake recipe jumped into my mind and I responded, “You are so right, but I think I’ll go one better than zest.  I’ll add whole clementines!  (We happened to have some handy.)  And so I did and, if you are a fan of orange marmalade, you will like these muffins.  They are not very sweet so they are definitely a breakfast type muffin rather than dessert.  The original recipe is from

4 oz or 100g whole clementines (I used four of those little babies.)
1 cup or 140g dried cranberries
2 cups or 300g self-raising flour
3/4 cup or 155g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml vegetable oil
1 egg

Pop your whole clementines into a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for an hour.  Check occasionally and add more water to cover if needed.

Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.  Line your 12-cup muffin pan with paper cases or grease it well.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Whisk milk, oil and egg together in another bowl.

When the clementines are done, drain off the water and cut them open to remove the seeds.  Puree them in a food processor and allow to cool.

Add the cooled clementines to the liquid ingredients and whisk again.

Add liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Gently fold in the cranberries.

Divide your batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool.  These are best served warm.