Monday, January 7, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Muffins #MuffinMonday

Happy Monday, lovely people!  After weeks of excess and over the top muffins, it feels good to get back to simple, yet still delicious.  My daughters left Dubai to return to the US and university over the weekend, so you know I need some cheering up.  And there is hardly anything more cheerful than the smell of freshly zested lemons, am I right?

That’s why they put it in cleaning materials too, by the way.  It is part of the brainwashing program designed by marketing types to convince us that cleaning is fun and uplifting and we should buy more lemon-scented soaps and sprays.  But I tell you no lies:  These muffins are the real thing.  Get some in the oven and you will feel better in no time.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from this BBC recipe.

For the muffins:
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 115g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large lemon (for zest and 1/4 cup juice)
2 eggs
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/3 cup or 75ml vegetable oil
1 small punnet blueberries (about 125g or 4.4 oz) Reserve 12 for popping on the top of the muffins before baking, if desired.

For the topping:
Powdered or icing sugar to sprinkle, optional

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.  Butter your 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper liners.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Grate in the lemon zest and mix.   Juice your lemon.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, juice and oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just mixed through.

Fold in all the blueberries, except 12, if saving.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups in pan.

If you saved berries for the top, now is the time to pop one on the top of each cup.  (They might still sink, but I figured it was worth a shot.)

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Allow them to cool for a few minutes then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with a little powdered or icing sugar, if desired, and serve.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hot Lemon Curd Soufflés

Fluffy and light, these hot lemon curd soufflés are simple to make and bake, for a fresh dessert the whole family will love!

Food Lust People Love: Fluffy and light, these hot lemon curd soufflés are simple to make and bake, for a fresh dessert the whole family will love!

Time again for a few confessions.  The first one is that I own and use an old lady pullcart.  I got it for Christmas and I couldn’t have been happier.  (See below for evidence!)  And bless my daughters for giving it to me, despite their mortification when I use it!  You know what I’m talking about, right?

It's the kind with wheels that old ladies use to do their shopping in the city when they are on foot. Trundling around ahead of you, in their scratchy cardigans, even in the summer, and impeding your passage when they stop to talk to other old ladies about the weather? That’s me, except I just have the cart, and mine is flowered, not plaid, and I tend to walk at a reasonable clip.

Happy camper on Christmas Day!

After all, and this is the second confession, I use mine to scoot between charity shops, looking for used cookbooks while I am visiting the Channel Island of Jersey.  (Which happens as often as I can get there!)  And if I get to the shops before you, I am going to buy ALL the good cookbooks. Which are very heavy. Which is where the cart comes in. It's a necessity, folks, as well as a fashion accessory. Among the treasures I found on a trip a number of years ago, was the whole How To Cook series, books One – Three, by Delia Smith for only £1 each.  Score!

Which brings me to confession number three: I have a lot of cookbooks. When I get a new one, I go through it, carefully bookmarking all the recipes I want to try first.  The problem is that I often get several new ones at a time, and I don’t get around to making all the things I want to make before yet another new cookbook arrives and the old bookmarks get sadly curly and mashed as the cookbook is put into the shelf and, while not exactly forgotten, it’s no longer on the front burner, so to speak. Can anybody relate?

This week I am delighted to join Sunday Supper, a fabulous group of bloggers dedicated to getting everyone around the family table once more.  The current theme is all about trying something new, something that’s been on your bucket list but that you have yet to tackle.  These Hot Lemon Curd Soufflés were bookmarked at least five years ago so they totally qualify!  And now I am kicking myself for waiting so long.  Because they were delicious. And so easy.

3 large eggs
1 medium lemon
1/4 cup or 50g golden caster sugar
Plus 2 1/2 teaspoons golden caster sugar (White sugar can be substituted for both.)
2/3 cup or 155ml room temperature lemon curd (Store-bought or half of this recipe here – eat the other half with a spoon!)
Butter for greasing your four ramekins

Optional for serving: a sprinkle of powdered or icing sugar

Lightly butter your four ramekins and preheat your oven to 325°F or 170°C.
Separate your eggs and put the whites in a large clean, dry, grease-free bowl.  Put your yolks in a medium-size bowl.

Grate your lemon zest and juice your lemon.  Set aside.  You will need two tablespoons of the juice.  I used a zester for my lemon and the pieces were too big.  You definitely want to use a small grater or Microplane, if you have one.

Using either an electric mixer or a balloon whisk, beat the whites until stiff peaks form.  You’ll get much stiffer peaks with an electric mixer but mine is out of commission right now.  I was surprised by how quickly I was able to get stiff peaks with just a balloon whisk so if that’s all you have, don’t be discouraged.

Now add the 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar to the whites and beat again.

To the yolk bowl, add the grated lemon zest and two tablespoons of juice, along with the remaining sugar and mix them together thoroughly.

See that zest?  Way too big. Another reminder to use a grater. 

Fold a good spoonful of the fluffy whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it.

Add the yolk mixture to the whites and gently, very gently, fold it in so that as much air and fluffiness as possible remains.

Divide your lemon curd between the buttered ramekins.

Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Spoon the mixture on top of the lemon curd and run your finger around the inside edge of each to clean it a little, if necessary.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.  Allow the hot curd to cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, if desired.  Place the whole hot ramekin on a small saucer to serve.

Food Lust People Love: Fluffy and light, these hot lemon curd soufflés are simple to make and bake, for a fresh dessert the whole family will love!

These will sink a little bit as time goes on but will still taste delicious and light, if not served immediately.

Food Lust People Love: Fluffy and light, these hot lemon curd soufflés are simple to make and bake, for a fresh dessert the whole family will love!


Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:
Sunday Supper Main Dishes:
Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quick Lemon Curd

This photo is a hint for the next recipe to come!
Why is this called curd?  I would like someone out there to tell me, because, by ingredients and method, it should rightly be called something waaaay more attractive, like, say, lemon custard.  Seriously.  Curd?  If you’ve ever spooned delicious, bright, lemony curd straight into your mouth from a pan or even a store-bought jar, I am not talking to you.  You are excused.  But, hey, you out there still reeling from the words lemon and curd together:  Come over here close and repeat after me:  “It is really lemon custard.  Fresh lemon CUSTARD.  And it only takes a few minutes to make.  I will try this!”  Let’s go.

Ingredients (Makes about 1 1/4 cups or 295ml)
2 small lemons
2 large eggs
Heaping 1/3 cup or 80g sugar
1/4 cup or 50g cold, unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cornflour or cornstarch

Grate the zest off of your lemons and ignore the photo of me using my zester.  Even after I chopped the pieces with a big knife, the lemon zest was rather big and there were hurtful comments about same from my recipe testers.  Sniff.

Juice the lemons and strain out the seeds.

Cut your butter up into cubes and set aside, back in the refrigerator.

In a small bowl, whisk together your lemon juice and eggs.

Add in the rest of your ingredients, except the butter.

Still whisking constantly, cook the mixture in a saucepan over a medium heat until it thickens.

Add in the butter and mix thoroughly, simmering for a further minute or two.  Your lemon curd, or custard, is now done!

Spoon it straight into your mouth (let it cool a little, silly) or await further instructions as I have two recipes coming up, starting Sunday, that will use that lovely lemon curd.  I mean, custard.  If you aren’t using it within a couple of hours, cover with cling film and refrigerate.


This lemon curd can be used in a variety of ways. Here are the links to the recipes I mentioned above:

Hot Lemon Curd Soufflés

Citrus Lust Mini Bundt Cakes with Lemon Curd

Lemon curd recipe originally from Delia Smith's How to Cook Book 1.


I've entered this lemon curd recipe in Tea Time Treats for January, where the theme is citrus.  The hosts are Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Bakes.  If you have a citrusy item to add, just click on Lavender and Lovage or the photo caption below.

Tea Time Treats Link