Lazy Saturdays


I don’t know about yours but I like my Saturdays served lazy.

Waking up to room service knocking on your door , having a nice warm shower and then making your way down to a cute French bakery down the street? I don’t know anything that could be better.

(Except of course not having a shower and going to the coffee shop under my block and having roti prata with fish curry and a steaming cup of black coffee. But this is not an option)

I am not trying to make any of you jealous because… really.. waking up to the breaking dawn and going for 10km run and having muesli for breakfast would be infinitely better for your health but in all honesty I truly believe pastries and coffee give about the same effect on your mood and much more easier to achieve.
Anyway the point I wanted to make was this French bakery I found today morning was brill. Loved the waiters and the counter girl (all of them French no less) , all of them friendly and sweet. (My waiter even fixed my creaky table for me. Very gallant.)
It is called Le Bon Choix and it’s situated in the far end of Queen Street. Cakes, bread, macaron and croissants you name it they have it and all in fine taste.
What impressed me best was the almond croissant. It was warm, crumbly, buttery, sweet with the slight crunch of  the toasted almonds as you bite into it…as the crumbs unglamorously fall onto your lap and nestle all over your chin… Maybe not if you’re one of “those”.

But anyway, point being -they are delicious. The plain croissants are stuffed with a rich almond cream filling known as crème d’amandes. Traditionally French bakeries used this method to give new life to day-old croissants. And boy am I glad I was the one to give new life to this day old croissant. My kind act for the day.

Love,
The Starting Chef
P.S: That’s the chocolate donut I had after the almond croissant because life is short.
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Perfect Beaches and Blueberry Muffins

Just for the record I did not make my perfect blueberry muffins during my perfect beach weekend because I was too busy scampering around half asleep trying to stuff things into my bag at 8 on a Saturday morning. As shocking as it may sound, yes, I have been quite the early bird since I have been here in Brisbane and all for good reason. Mainly because… THERE ARE THINGS TO DO OVER HERE.

But seriously, my motto since I have been here is to do things I would other wise never do in the course of my hum drum ordinary life. I even bought myself an expensive Pandora bracelet to remind me of my motto. (Don’t even ask.)

But since then I have climbed mountains and subsequent lofty hills,

attempted to surf (and failed) but couldn’t resist a silly picture anyway,

made a sandcastle,

went to my first live concert in Byron Bay on my first road trip,

walked on a dog beach conquering my fear of dogs (with a friend to protect me of course, just in case),

If you must know, I did an embarrassing  roll from the sea bed to the shore after being smacked in the face by a wave (in my defense, it was a strong and huge wave) right where the couple are walking by and needless to say my friend enjoyed it very much. And no I do not have a picture.

I also kayaked in the vast  Pacific ocean in search of dolphins and whales, which went perfectly fine all the way till somewhere in the middle after about 3 hours in the ocean..

things went a little pear shaped… (that’s me elegantly falling into the sea by the way)

and last but not least I baked a perfect blueberry muffin. 🙂

And here it is.

 
 
 
These are the blueberries I used, they’re big, organic, juicy and frozen. What could be better?
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
Now you might ask me, why do my muffins have a mucky purple tinge to it. The color of the blueberries seep into the batter, and if you’re one of those who “toss your blueberries in flour” you better run now cos I just let em seep the heck into my batter.
 
But here’s the thing, it really doesn’t matter! Look at my muffin’s insides! Do they look purple to you??
So listen to me and make this muffin NOW.
 
Here’s the recipe:
 
Yields 1 dozen muffins
 
2 cups self-raising flour
1tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1tsp lemon juice
2 tblsp fruit based or plain yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C and line muffin pan with paper muffin liners
2. Combine 2 cups of flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl
3. In a separate bowl beat 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar until its light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and stir in  vanilla, lemon juice/zest and yoghurt.
4. Fold GENTLY dry ingredients into wet ingredients whilst adding milk.
5. Fold in blueberries. (General rule of thumb; the folding should be about 12 times)
6. Spoon batter into liners
7. Add some almond slices/break Lindt blueberry chocolate bars into small pieces and insert them into middle of muffin.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 20 mins or more depending on your ovens temperament
 
 
Love,
The Starting Chef

Chocolate Shock Muffins

Does chocolate oozing out of your dessert  sound like your type of heaven?  Then this is your type of muffin. It is almost sinful to call it a muffin. It tastes more like a cross between a rich brownie and a decadent chocolate cake.

To quote my housemate after she had the muffin….  She said “I will die in peace tonight” … And another housemate said she had a choc-gasm.. I’m pretty sure it was the excessive chocolate doing the talking.

The only way to achieve such supreme chocolatiness is to eat it freshly baked out of the oven..

You could create the same effect the next day with the microwave! 😀  But really, I’d rather just make enough for today and leave the batter for the next day.

Anyway, the reason for the second bout of my muffin making is a lunchtime gathering at my university for some students and I did not want to go empty handed. So after consulting with my housemates we decided to make chocolate muffins.

These are the things you need:

2 cups flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 egg

3 tbsp vegetable oil ( I use canola oil, it’s supposed to be healthy.. or so they say)

1 tsp vanilla essence ( I used about 1 tbsp simply cos it smells heavenly)

1 tsp coffee granules mixed withe 3 tbsp hot water (Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate)

1 1/2 cups chocolate chip (milk chocolate or dark chocolate,whatever makes you happy)

Optional:

3/4 cups chopped almonds/walnuts


All you have to do is sift all the dry ingredients.. ( Eton helped me out happily)



You then beat the egg lightly first then mix all the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and lightly stir in your chocolate chips into the mixture. Spoon it into the muffin pan lined with cupcake cases. ( I have no idea why I have a look of intense concentration)



You must sprinkle a few pieces of chocolate chips onto the top of the muffin mixture.

You bake it at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes and you’re done!




Oozing Chocolate… Need I say more…


They were gone in minutes.. 😀


The muffin liners look so cute!



Hope you guys will try out this recipe, it’s totally worth it!

Enjoy!

P.S: Don’t forget to rate it! It’s at the top of the page! 🙂


Love,

Nisha

Banana Crumb Muffins

Every Friday starting from last week a touch rugby session is held in uni. And surprise surprise! I actually went today!

So I decided to bake a little something for some of the lovely girls because, what’s a bit of exertion without food to cheer you on right? Well, at least for me it is. So I decided to make some energy food and of course everyone knows bananas give energy and a whole lot of other good stuff, and also, these are my favorite type of muffins. I have made them many times before and its best eaten straight out of the oven when its nice and warm!

Just like everything else I make, these are incredibly easy to do! I know nobody can be bothered to make these in the morning as really, we do not have enough time t0 get ready in the first place. But they still taste beautiful if you make the batter the night before, leave it in the fridge and when you get up in the morning just pour some in your muffin pan and stick it in the oven for a bit and you have yummy breakfast! No need for those silly cafe made muffins which cost a bomb and which aren’t fresh anyway.

So these are the things you need:

Muffin:

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 bananas, mashed

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted

Now, all you have to do is to combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. An important tip is to never over mix the batter as it results in really hard muffins. You could use a wooden spoon ( I just use my hands) to mix it, a rough gauge is to mix it around 12 times.

You then line the muffin pan.


And now for the crumb topping which you sprinkle on top of the batter! This is really optional however, it makes all the difference!

These are the things you need:

2 tbsp flour

1tsp cinnamon ( or more)

1 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

You then mix them till it looks like the picture below and sprinkle it onto the batter.



Then you pop it into the oven at 190 degrees Celsius (you preheat it for about ten minutes before you pop the muffins in) and bake it for twenty minutes. Annnd you’re done! 😀


All of us, tired and hungry after playing touch rugby ate the muffins!

It was nearly dark when we left, so it’s more of a dinner muffin!


And yes, my mum requested for me to put up pictures of myself on my blog, so here it is( albeit a sweaty one)!

Enjoy!



Love,

Nisha