Monday, March 17, 2014

Soda Bread Muffins

Happy St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate, I adapted this Irish Soda Bread recipe from the delightful bakers at King Arthur Flour. SO GOOD for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up. I primarily adjusted the original recipe to work with gluten-free flour, incorporate my love of cinnamon, and use the abundance of sultanas in my kitchen!

I made these yesterday and there might be only three left. So I think it's fair to say these were a hit. Hope you think so too!

What you'll need (makes 18 muffins)

  • 210g all purpose gluten-free flour blend
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g buttermilk
  • 50ml milk
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 60g sultanas
  • 120g currants
  • caster sugar and ground cinnamon for topping

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 180C/360F.

Combine all dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, salt, sultanas, and currants - in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller separate bowl lightly beat the egg, then combine with the buttermilk, milk, and vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir lightly. Really a turn or two with a mixing spoon should do it. To ensure optimum fluffiness for your baked muffins, take care to not over stir. 

Line a muffin tin with papers or lightly grease the tin - I went for papers here, clearly. Fill the paper liners at least 2/3 of the way up - these muffins do not rise too much, so I had no trouble with overflow.

Once you've filled the muffin tin, mix together about 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, then sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Pop the filled muffin tin into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown on top and/or an inserted fork comes out clean. Enjoy warm with coffee or tea! Or perhaps with a festively green juice?

The buttermilk made these surprisingly airy, and the adjusted liquid to dry ingredients ratio worked really well with the gluten-free flour blend (no crumbly mess, as is sometimes the case when you substitute gluten-free flour directly into a recipe - hurrah!).

Hope you enjoy your St. Patrick's Day! Any big celebration plans? Baking with Guinness or Bailey's maybe? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Canals and Bicycles and Flowers, Oh My!

This weekend we had a little getaway adventure to Amsterdam! It was so nice to explore and relax in a city full of canals and boats and bicycles. And the weather was amazingly cooperative - I maybe wanted to play hooky and stay another day in the sunshine. If only!

SO MANY BICYCLES. And so many varieties - cargo bicycles, a mother with a baby strapped to her and another small child riding at the handlebars, passengers riding sidesaddle, and one guy transporting a stack on chairs, just to name a few! On Sunday we took a bicycle tour of the city and pretended to be locals. Well, pretended to be locals if we ignored the duck-like line of our fellow tour takers.

Pretty purple canal side houses - apparently they are built to lean forward a little bit so people can use a pulley system to move their furniture in! Or at least that's the story we were told...

Flowers in the floating flower market.

I also kind of want to live in a houseboat now. And maybe walk to Pancakes! Amsterdam a few times a week. I have a serious pancake/waffle weakness.

More flowers in the market. We brought some tulip bulbs home with us - fingers crossed they do well!

We stayed in the Museum Quarter, which made it super convenient to visit the newly renovated Rijksmuseum, the symphony -because we fancy like that, clearly ;-) - and the Van Gogh Museum.

I would love to go back again sometime and and see the tulip fields in bloom, enjoy a leisurely afternoon drink by a canal, and take a long bike ride out of the city. Have you been to Amsterdam? Are you planning an adventure there anytime soon?