We are well into the few days of summer the UK gets each year. It’s been sweltering, so I know that people probably aren’t going to be inside reading my rambles. As my last post, an open letter about just how good the London food scene is, was pretty lengthy and as my next is going to be something just as long about our trip to Budapest, I thought it’d be a good time to crack out a nice short post on a simple summer recipe. So here’s a quick and easy recipe for Iced Earl Grey Tea with Mint and Lemon. I have talked about my love for Earl Grey at length, and my most recent recipe, Earl Grey & Raspberry Loaves, is one of those times.
It’s national vegetarian week! I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan friends, in fact I’m half way through another meat free month myself, and one of the big nitpicks is often how a lot of meat focused restaurants hardly make an effort, using the excuse “but there isn’t anything suitable” or “you really want another veggie chilli, right?” instead of trying something a bit different. This recipe would sit nicely on the menu at any of the major BBQ places across the UK, or even at a number of Mexican ones. There are in fact a couple of places that do entirely veggie and vegan Mexican where Pulled Jackfruit is a staple.
Well, June has been hectic. In fact, wait a minute, it’s JUNE? And it’s July IN TWO DAYS? When did this happen? I have no idea where my time has been going lately. It seems to be slipping away faster and faster (along with my money). Just this Friday I’m moving (again) to Bow Road, so if any of you are East Londoners, mine is a Gin & Tonic (no cucumber, god help you if I find cucumber in my gin).
Force choke – Photo by Arthy
But why has June been so busy I hear you ask? Well I’ll give you a snapshot of just one weekend to really hit it home. It started with a gig on the Thursday, the Movielife to be exact, at the Electric Ballroom. A whole heap of my friends were down from Leeds as well as a bunch of people from London. The Movielife are one of those bands that helped shape half the people I knows music taste. They got big in the early 00’s before breaking up and continuing with various endeavours (Vinnie, most notably in I Am The Avalanche). This meant that while it was a Thursday, a rather large amount of booze was consumed, and by the end of the set I had no voice left.
With summer well and truly here I felt that continuing the summer baking just made sense. Blueberry muffins are simple, and taste delicious. They are a staple of almost any coffee shop, be it a Starbucks or one of the better quality independent places (we’ve a few great ones kicking about in Leeds, like Mrs Athas and Laynes Espresso). Filling a muffin with fruit, especially berries, adds that extra burst of flavour. It gives me the chance to say “it’s got fruit in it, it’s healthy”.
The key with this recipe is to leave it to rest for as long as you can allow yourself. (As I often bake on a weeknight I usually don’t wait as long as I usually should). If you can allow it, leave it overnight and the cakes will taste just that bit better. This is a recipe for a relatively small batch, I didn’t want too many as I was making biscuits later in the night for my trip up to Scotland.
This is also the first time that I’ve managed to get my DSLR involved with the photos. The charger simply disappeared a while ago and I had to order a new one. Part of this blog is going to be me teaching myself what I’m actually doing with it, so I’m hoping the pictures get better as I go along.
- 110g plain flour
- 110g butter
- 65g caster sugar
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 125g blueberries, or equivalent in frozen blueberries
- pinch nutmeg (optional)
- Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until creamy, this can take several minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Mix in the flour, beating until smooth.
- Leave the batter covered in the fridge overnight, or at least one hour.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a muffin tray.
- Spoon the batter into each case, it should fill to around half way in each. Dot the top of the muffins with blueberries, 8-10 in each depending on how you want them to taste.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Summer has well and truly hit Yorkshire this last week or so. With the sun shining it has lead me towards some more summer themed recipes. Along with a visit to the York food festival, which is just brimming with local food produce. I stocked up on various things (that my budget allowed) and came home with some Chorizo, Brie, Oak Smoked Cheddar and fresh Strawberries. There was infinitely more that I wanted, but I just couldn’t justify it. The trip to York was a delight, involving sun, food, ice cream, sights, beer and good company. There isn’t much of a better time to visit York (apart from maybe just before Christmas, when all the decorations are up). When the sun is out it is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in the UK. Even if, to me, it has the whole “hometown” dullness that happens when you live somewhere for your teenage years.
The pieces I picked up prompted me to make a couple of different things and over the next couple of days I’ll be uploading a couple of different recipes. This one involves the strawberries I picked up; Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes. It’s a quick recipe and absolutely perfect for summer. Especially if you are a Wimbledon fan. Strawberries and Cream is just one of the best simple combinations possible. Coupled with the surprise of a Strawberry Jam centre to add that extra hit of flavour these cupcakes can be put together quickly and don’t even feel unhealthy. Keeping them small and topped with a fresh strawberry you just can’t go wrong.
Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
- 200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 200g/7oz self-raising flour
- 4 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
- 250ml/9fl oz lightly whipped double cream
- 250g/9oz strawberries, hulled
- icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a cupcake tray with cases.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, this can take several minutes, so persevere.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beating well after each addition.
- Fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture, it will be quite thick.
- Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling about half way. Spoon about ½ a teaspoon of jam into the middle of each case. Cover with more cake mix. The final case should be around ¾ full.
- Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for between 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and set to cool on a wire rack.
- Once they have cooled, whip up the double cream. With a small sharp knife, cut a small well into the top of each cake.
- Pipe the cream into the well and top with a strawberry. Dust with icing sugar.
- Store in the fridge, these are best eaten straight away.