Blueberry and Lemon Yoghurt Muffins

It’s very hard when you want to bake but you can’t because you know you’ll just eat it all. The other day I had the urge to bake some muffins. I told myself that it would be ok if I ate one for breakfast. Yes, it was very nice but I don’t recommend it because two hours later I was starving. Mind you, it didn’t help that in that two hours I’d done a load of jobs and walked the dog in between. So maybe I was genuinely in need of something. Well, that’s my excuse anyway!

These blueberry and lemon yoghurt muffins were so easy to knock up and were so light. The recipe was adapted from one in Annie Bell’s Baking Bible and was originally a blueberry and orange muffin recipe. They are dairy free and the fat content comes from using olive oil in the batter. Instead of using orange zest and juice, which I didn’t have, I used lemon zest and natural yoghurt in its place. This worked extremely well and I was pleased with the result.

Annie Bell has a tip at the end of her recipe saying “It is only one step on in imagination to use extra virgin olive oil in a muffin, rather than groundnut or sunflower. It mellows with cooking and the resulting scent, while distinctive, is very pleasing,”

I must admit I had never thought to bake with olive oil before as I thought the flavour would be too strong. It was, as Annie Bell said, a very mellow flavour within the muffin.

Happy baking!

Love Sam xx

The Great British Bake Off Christmas- Seedy Flatbread Crackers.

Sunday 10th December 2017.

Mr SmartCookieSam loves cheese and biscuits. He loves a plate of cheese and crackers washed down with a glass of wine more than a piece of cake or some chocolate. Normally I’d buy in a couple of packets of cream crackers or oatcakes to put in the tin for whenever he fancies some cheese.

But looking through The Great British Bake Off Christmas book which I’m baking a lot from this month, I noticed a recipe for some crackers. I don’t really bake savoury biscuits that often but I was keen to have a go. After all, it might stop me stuffing my face too!

On Sunday afternoon I just didn’t fancy going out. It had started snowing (not settling though) but was still freezing. The fire had been lit in the lounge and Mr SmartCookieSam was on Dad’s taxi duty collecting our son from work and taking him over to a friend’s house. Me being the baking addict I am, started twitching and thinking right what can I bake now?

The seedy crackers contain polenta which luckily our local Morrisons had. It took me a while to find it, though. Was it going to be with the baking stuff? Or with the Italian food? Not with the flours in the baking aisle and the only polenta I could find was the ready made stuff along with the pesto sauce and the like. I almost gave up until I walked past where there were some lentils! Lo and behold, I could find some! Not only that but this recipe needed pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. There was a gap on the shelf where the pumpkin seeds were meant to be but in the end I bought a mixed bag of seeds to save buying three separate bags. I had some milled flaxseed left over from the other week when I baked a vegan banana loaf for a family get together.

The recipe introduction makes these delicious sounding flatbread crackers a perfect idea for presents wrapped up in a gift tin as they are “easy to make and keep exceptionally well,” The recipe also, to me sounds really adaptable as you can “experiment with different seeds, such as poppy, hemp and chia or you could try brown mustard seeds, cumin or coriander,” Not sure if I’d get that far, to be honest but I like poppy seeds.

All the seeds, polenta and flaxseeds were tipped into a large bowl and mixed up, along with some sea salt, some olive oil and some boiling water. I then stirred everything together so that it became a big dough.

On my work top I laid down two rectangular pieces of baking parchment. Half the dough went on each piece. Then, I cut two more identical sized pieces of baking parchment and put them on top of the mixture. Out came the rolling in and I rolled the dough, which was sandwiched between the baking parchment. This was to get the dough as flat as possible without it sticking to the rolling pin and the work top! When it was rolled flat, I trimmed the rectangle of dough neatly and then scored it into neat little rectangles. I ended up with two baking trays full of crispbreads.

My oven was set to 200oC and the crackers were baked for about 45 minutes until they came out crisp. They broke easily along the scored lines and were left to cool down on a wire rack. When Mr SmartCookieSam came back he wondered what they were. We still had a while to go until our dinner was ready and he ended up having a couple of crispy flatbreads with some Stilton cheese. He wasn’t that impressed with them, to be honest. I think he’s not a seed lover. He’ll eat cream crackers but he’s not keen on water biscuits or anything with “bits in” I couldn’t see my son eating them, either. Maybe if I experiment and keep out the big chunky seeds then he won’t notice. I wondered if I didn’t put enough salt in them, I suppose homemade crackers are a lot different to shop bought ones.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Orange and Olive Oil Loaf- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

A couple of weeks ago I was told by my hubby to stop baking things so much as we were all trying to lose weight.  I agreed with him as I find it is all too tempting to “taste test” what I’ve baked.  I just love baking so much though. Usually the cakes and cookies I bake for Sam’s Smart Cookies are special occasion ones and the same recipes over and over again.  But occasionally I like to try new things out so if I have a stall or someone wants something different I know I can offer it to the customer and that it will “work”.

Sometimes, though it is frustrating when my hubby comes in and says “I’m hungry. Have you got any cake anywhere?”  This happened to me  only two days after the “Stop doing so much baking” lecture.  In the end I thought well I will have to make something and keep it handy.

I looked at what ingredients needed using up and had some oranges in my fruit bowl.  I noticed that there was an orange and olive oil loaf in the latest Great British Bake Off book.  It is made with white spelt flour though, which I did not have.  I did have some wholemeal spelt flour though.  We had olive oil but only extra virgin oil, not a mild and fruity one.  At least I could try and see what it turned out like.

Eggs, olive oil, orange zest and milk are added to a large mixing bowl.
Eggs, olive oil, orange zest and milk are added to a large mixing bowl.
These ingredients are whisked together.
These ingredients are whisked together.
Caster sugar is mixed in and whisked together.
Caster sugar is mixed in and whisked together.
The spelt flour and bicarbonate of soda are sifted into a separate bowl.
The spelt flour and bicarbonate of soda are sifted into a separate bowl.
The dry ingredients are folded in with a metal spoon.
The dry ingredients are folded in with a metal spoon.
The mixture is spooned carefully into a loaf tin lined with one of the special loaf tin liners you can buy in Lakeland.
The mixture is spooned carefully into a loaf tin lined with one of the special loaf tin liners you can buy in Lakeland.
Fresh out of the oven. While still warm the top of the loaf was brushed with a tablespoon of marmalade.
Fresh out of the oven. While still warm the top of the loaf was brushed with a tablespoon of marmalade.

Well, I was totally disappointed with the cake.  It tasted claggy and the olive oil was totally overpowering.  This probably could have worked if I had used mild olive oil but all I could taste was the olive oil.  Maybe rapeseed or sunflower oil would have been better as well.

So did my hubby get his teabreak fix? No, not at all. I put it in the tin and noticed it was still there 5 days later.  Not a great success this time, I’m afraid!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx