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Hot English Muffins – the sourdough variety!

This is not my recipe. Not in the slightest. The full credit for this goes to Susan from Wild Yeast. Nevertheless, breakfast perfection has been achieved and it is my sworn duty to report such wins to you!

Sourdough hot English muffins with scrambled eggs. Just what the doctor ordered.

[ Makes: 8 | Time: 24 hours | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Sponge

110 g starter
160 g plain flour
100 g wholemeal flour
275 ml soy milk

Final dough

75 g plain flour
1.5 teaspoon agave or ½ teaspoon stevia
1  teaspoon bicarbonate soda
¾ teaspoon salt

Polenta to sprinkle

Method

  1. Mix the sponge ingredients together. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow to rest overnight.

    Cover and rest

  2. Add the final dough ingredients and mix to incorporate. Turn out on a clean bench and mix by hand. The dough is very sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. The mixture will thicken up after a lot of kneading – about 8 – 10 minutes.

    When you start to knead, the dough will be extremely sticky. Resist the urge to add flour!

  3. Use a bread scraper to get the dough off the bench and sprinkle with flour.

    The dough will still be sticky but it will be usable.

  4. Flatten the dough on the floured bench until it is about an inch thick. Use a cutter or a glass to cut out the muffins. Dust the outsides of the muffin with polenta.
  5. Cover and let proof for an hour or three.
  6. Heat a frying pan with a little oil over a low to medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side, turning regularly to maintain shape.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. To use, slit the muffins with a fork and toast until golden.

    before and after toasting.

Observations

  • I’ve made these several times now with mixed results. Take my advice; don’t allow the sponge to rest for more than overnight. It fails to rise when it’s rested for more. Make sure you allow it the second rest period after its been shaped.
  • Diabetic Note: There is nothing too evil here. Treat it like you do bread – one or two slices is allowable. More will wreak havoc with your blood glucose levels.
  • Ethical Note: Sourdough – enough said 🙂

I mentioned the bread scraper. It is a firm but flexible piece of plastic that is excellent for scraping bowls and manipulating dough. If you are getting aboard the sourdough train, make sure you get yourself one.

 

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Turkey English Muffins for Breakfast

I never usually buy commercial bread products. Mine are so much tastier and a darn sight better for me! Nevertheless, I have succumbed and bought a packet of English Breakfast Muffins. The reason behind this is to understand the texture and taste of them because I think my sourdough adventures will lead to a tastier home-made version sometime soon.

So my experiments begin. I must seek awesome ways of eating this delightful muffin. Is this awesome cleverly disguised as a breakfast dish? Id say so, but I may be biased.

Turkey English Muffins for Breakfast

[ Serves: 2 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $5 ]
[ Joes Rating: 5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

2 English muffins
100g turkey breast
2 organic free ranged eggs
1 tomato, sliced
2 cheese slices
handful baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cranberry jelly
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Slice all the ingredients ready for construction while the muffin is hot.
  2. Split the muffins in half at the join line and toast lightly.
  3. While the muffin is toasting, lightly scramble one egg in a bowl and pop it in the microwave oven for 30 – 40 seconds until cooked. 

    Quick method for light fluffy eggs

  4. Once the muffin has been toasted, spread mayonnaise on one half and cranberry jelly on the other. On the mayonnaise side, add the baby spinach, tomato, salt and pepper, turkey, cheese, egg and more salt and pepper. 

    Construction of a master piece.

  5. Devour immediately.

So yummy

Observations

  • This was so tasty and filling. Much happiness comes from such a complete breakfast!
  • A note about seasoning. If you noticed, I seasoned the muffin twice; on the tomatoes and on the eggs. I believe both require adequate seasoning to enhance their flavours. Do a blind taste test on a piece of tomato and a bit of egg both seasoned and unseasoned and you will understand my rationale behind this.
  • I’ve heard and read a lot of things both for and against microwaved proteins. I hardly ever use my microwave, but this 30 – 40 second zap for one egg produces light, fluffy eggs that are otherwise time-consuming and require a lot of clean up. My only word of caution is to not over cook the eggs in the microwave, unless you want rubber fighting weapons for comic skits.
  • Want a vegetarian version? Just leave the turkey off and perhaps substitute a lentil patty!
  • Diabetic Note: One of these muffins is within my carbohydrate budget. The protein from the turkey, cheese and egg (particularly the egg) keeps me full for hours. While you may be pushing the fats friendship from the egg content and cheese, all in all this is a pretty balanced and awesome breakfast!
  • Ethical Note: I used tomatoes from my garden. YAY! And with any luck, next time I write to you about English Muffins, it will be about my own home made sourdough version. Fingers crossed!
 

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Banana Muffins

This is a little bit of an experiment so I was weary of the results. To my astonishment, what results is nothing short of bananary goodness.

[ Makes: 12  |  TIME: 30 MINUTES  |  COST: $2  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  3.5  / 5 ]

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas
1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup chocolate chips
1 free ranged egg
1 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon stevia

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Add the egg, stevia, agave and starter and mix gently.
  3. Add the wholemeal flour, baking soda and chia seeds and mix gently.
  4. Stir through the choc chips.
  5. Fill your muffin trays or liners until ¾ full.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven for 18 minutes.

Observations

  • It is really important not to over work the batter. A gentle hand is needed for lighter, fluffier muffins.
  • If you are after a more refined, fluffier texture, use white flour instead of wholemeal. Wholemeal gives you a much denser body.
  • If you are not a convert to the joys of agave, just use ordinary honey.
  • When baking, put a bowl of water in the oven so it is moist with steam. This will stop your muffins from drying out.
  • There is a fine line with this recipe between deliciously moist to overcooked and dry. Test it with a knife tip or a skewer from 15 minutes and adjust cooking time to suit your oven. I found the 17 minute mark to be ideal for me.
  • Originally, I used 2 tablespoons of chia bit it sort of over dominated the other flavours. In this case, more is not always best.
  • The choc chip and banana combination was made of winning!
  • Diabetic Note: Agave is the nectar of a cactus and has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners such as refined sugar and honey. I use it when I can’t use stevia which had no effect on my blood glucose levels. Agave is also a strong choice for vegans who don’t eat honey. It is also 1.5 times sweeter than honey, so is used sparingly. Just as well, really, because it is expensive!
  • Ethical Note: I used way over ripe bananas in this instead of throwing them away. YAY for reduced waste!
 

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Carrot Sourdough Muffins

I have made this so many times lately that I thought it deserved sharing. They have become a bit of a staple in the house for morning and afternoon tea treats. This is a delicious way of using up your sourdough starter and although it has a lot of elements, it is so easy. It is adapted from a Richard Packham recipe.

[  SERVES: 2  |  TIME: 40 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4.5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1½ cup plain flour
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup active sourdough starter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup graduated sugar OR 1 teaspoon stevia
¼ cup butter
¼ cup milk OR soy milk
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 free ranged egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon all spice
¼ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grate your carrot finely. If you can only use a coarse setting, boil it lightly for a few minutes until its par cooked. Allow it to cool before using it.
  3. In a bowl, cream the butter and the sugar together until it becomes pale. This will take several minutes.
  4. Add the egg and milk and mix well.
  5. Add the starter, flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Incorporate your dry ingredients into the egg mixture gently. Do not overwork the batter.
  6. Gently stir through the carrots, raisins and nuts.
  7. Half fill your muffin papers.
  8. Cook at 180ºC for 16 – 18 minutes.

Observations

  • It is really really important not to over work the batter. If you give it the bare minimum of work, your muffins will be lighter and fluffier. If you use a blender, your muffins will turn into stones. A gentle hand is needed for this one!
  • I use to cook the carrots but now I use finer grated raw carrots and it tastes so much better. Be guided by your grater size / thickness.
  • When baking, put a bowl of water in the oven so it is moist with steam. This will stop your muffins from drying out.
  • There is a fine line with this recipe between deliciously moist to overcooked and dry. Test it with a knife tip or a skewer from 15 minutes and adjust cooking time to suit your oven.
  • I have tried all manner of fruit and nuts in this mixture. I’ve used almonds and macadamia nuts as well as sultanas and cranberries. What I have mentioned in the ingredients list was my favourite combination.
  • Diabetic Note: I use Stevia where possible. It is a natural substance that is sweet without causing a blood glucose reaction. I use Stevia here to replace half a cup of sugar to my benefit without ruining the texture of the muffins. As a result, I can have one or two of these for morning or afternoon tea without feeling too guilty. Certainly it doesn’t seem to upset my BGL too much.
  • Ethical Note:  I found it to be almost impossible to buy Australian walnuts in the supermarket but the health food store had a few options. Where possible, I purchase locally, but sometimes national options are the only possible ethical option.

 

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Sourdough Choc Chip Muffins

I’ve tried a lot of sourdough muffin recipes over the past few weeks, but this one takes the cake (punny!). Let me introduce you to this awesome recipe which originally Wellsphere.

[ Makes: 10 |  TIME: 30 minutes  |  COST: $4  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

 Ingredients

1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup wholemeal flour
½ cup organic white flour
½ cup choc chips
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 free ranged egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Cream the sugar and egg in a bowl until its colour changes.
  2. Add the starter, oil, vanilla and salt and stir gently til mixed.
  3. Add the flour and baking soda and mix gently.
  4. Spoon into cup cake liners until about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake at 190°C for 18 minutes.

Observations

  • Be exact with your timing for this muffin. 20 minutes dries them out while 15 minutes leaves them raw. I use my portable convection oven so its easy to time and I take them out the second they are done.
  • They have a distinct sourdough flavour and are not overly sweet. Having said that, Brittany did not like them for that reason (*grumble* teenagers *grumble*). If you want a sweeter muffin, you will need more sugar.
  • Take care not to over work this batter or you will lose the lovely bubbles it gets from the soda!
  • Using a wholemeal flour makes them quite heavy but I quite like that. If you are after a lighter fluffier muffin, opt for all white flour.
  • They are sensational hot, or delicious cold. Ice cream would be brilliant with them, as would a sweeter icing.
  • Diabetic Notes: Oh sweet, sweet temptations. One. Just one. And I wont tell your specialist if you wont tell mine.
  • Ethical Note: Chocolate has become a huge ethical issue for me. Asian rainforests are being torn down at neck breaking speeds to plant palm plantations. The removal of the rainforests is threatening a large number of Asian wildlife, many of who have no other place to exist. The palm sugar goes into all manner of Asian cuisine but the majority of it goes into making chocolate. The list of major chocolate manufacturers who use palm sugar is far longer than those that don’t. Research the source and ingredients of your chocolate brands and chose wisely. The orangutans will thank you for it.

 

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Savoury Zucchini Muffins – Gourmet Garden Blogoff

Day two of the great Gourmet Garden Cook off / Blog off is here! Today I’ve decided to make a family favourite savoury muffin using the Gourmet Garden range of spices.

My regular readers will know I am a big fan of chia seeds and zucchini and good quality cheeses. This delightful muffin has all the above and more! Let me introduce you to the champion of savoury muffins, adapted from this recipe at Netplaces.

[  SERVES: 3  |  TIME: 25 MIN  |  COST: <$3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4.5 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4.5 / 5 ]

INGREDIENTS

1½ cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup zucchini, grated and drained
2 free ranged eggs, beaten
½ cup cheese, grated
½ cup onions, diced finely
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup fresh parsley, shredded
¼ cup olive oil
1¼ tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grate the zucchini and squeeze it well to remove all the fluids from the pulp. Chop the onion finely and shred the parsley.
  2. In a frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until caramelising. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a large mixing bowl for about 20 minutes.
  3. Once onion mixture is cool, add the oil, buttermilk, eggs and zucchini. Mix well.
  4. Add both types of flour, baking powder and soda, chia seeds, thyme, and parsley, mixing gently until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the cheese and pepper to the mix, gently mixing through.
  5. To a greased muffin tray, add batter until muffin cups are ¾ full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and set. Remove from cups and serve immediately.

Observations

  • These muffins can be eaten hot as a light lunch, cold as a snack, or as an accompaniment for a main meal such as a soup. Either way, they are delicious!
  • We have discussed previously how wonderful chia seeds are for us. These muffins are an excellent way of incorporating more into our diet!
  • These muffins will keep in an air tight container for a few days.
  • These muffins are very savoury, and the use of Romano Pecorino Cheese really lifts this dish a lot. If you can’t get pecorino, try Parmesan for a similar taste and result.
  • Diabetic Note: A medium size muffin is around 15 g of carbohydrates, so they are great for morning or afternoon tea snacks. Keep in mind that adding butter or other toppings will be yummy but naughty! Watch your serving sizes.
  • Ethical Note 1: Ahh, how I love my local cheese maker cause this Pecorino rocks! As I mentioned last week, I chose to use free ranged goat cheeses and / or locally produced cheeses.
  • Ethical Note 2: Zucchini is currently in season, and are cheap as chips at the farmers markets. Using seasonal and local produce is a great way of lowering your carbon footprint.
  • Ethical Note 3: I’ve said it before and Ill say it again; free ranged eggs make a world of difference in terms of flavour and environmentally and ethical awareness. Where possible, insist on free ranged.
 

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Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

For weeks now, I have been battling with trying to get a sourdough starter established. After two trials (and failures) I’ve finally got a stable, happy sourdough. The starter method I used can be found on the Sourdough Home – a comprehensive site dedicated to bath water sourdough. Anyway, for my first trial baking, I decided to try something that looked appealing. The original recipe can be found on the Sourdough home’s muffin page and full credit goes to Mike for it. I also hope he wont mind me meddling with his original recipe…

[  Makes: 8 – 10  |  TIME: 40 MIN  |  COST: <$5  ]
[  Joes Rating  3 / 5  |  MY RATING:  2 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup sourdough starter
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup almond slivers
¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
¼ cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (425°F)
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the moist ingredients, slowly stirring in the blueberries and nuts.
  5. Spray muffin tray with oil. Fill the muffins to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Observations

  • I have to say right up front that I am not a baker. I generally leave the baking up to my daughter Brittany. Having said that, I can’t say that this was hugely successful. The taste and texture were all a little… bread like. Notwithstanding, it is my first attempt at sourdough anything so in a sense, it’s a huge success! =)
  • This was a very thick dough like mixture rather than a smooth batter. In hindsight, perhaps 50% wholemeal and 50% white flour could have been used, and perhaps a dash of milk.
  • I cant wait to try to make other sourdough baked goods… look out for breads, muffins, bagels and pancakes coming your way soon!
  • Diabetic Note: All this flour means carbohydrates. According to the website, each muffin is about 26 grams of carbs. Adjust accordingly.
  • Ethical Note: I’ve been doing quite a bit of research recently into flour.  Did you know that most white flour use steam to remove the husk, killing a lot of the nutrients along the way? As a result, manufacturers have to include additives to lift the nutrient values back to an acceptable level. Before it reaches you, the flour is also bleached to make that bright white colour that so many of us seem attracted to. Now ask yourself, how can this be sustainable, ethical or practical? Where possible, use organic wholemeal flours. Your intestines will thank you for it.
A sourdough starter fermenting.

A sourdough starter fermenting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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