We're pretty much completely snowed in today, although we haven't actually left the house to try and go anywhere. Our long-awaited new TV table (with doors!) and Billy bookcase were supposed to be delivered today, giving me lots of list items to crack on with, but they had to delay due to the snow.
On Monday, being lazy and not wanting to go and do a Tesco shop, I did our second-ever online shop, which thankfully was delivered yesterday evening. It's the first grocery shop we've done since before Christmas, so we were out of pretty much everything. If we hadn't ordered it, I would have had to brave driving on the snow, which I hate doing. So I'm very thankful for our uncustomary foresight.
We received 2 bonus items - we ordered 2 loose sweet potatoes and 3 loose bananas, but due to lack of loose stock they sent a whole bag of each, only charging for what we'd ordered. I thought I'd better get baking to stop it all going off, so I spent a happy and warm afternoon in the kitchen, making banana bread, sweet potato muffins and couscous cakes.
I would have kept going, but I'd run out of flour and had already sent Jamie to the shop once for butter, and the freezer is so packed full that I wouldn't get much more in there.
Once they've cooled I'm going to pack them up and freeze them, so I can defrost a few bits at a time for mine and J-cub's lunches. They're all sugar- and salt-free, very yummy and healthy(ish).
115ml boiling water
225g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Place 24 mini paper cases in a muffin tin. Put the couscous in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Cover and leave for 5 minutes, so the grains absorb the liquid. Fluff the grains apart with a fork.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl with a spoon. Beat the egg and oil in a large bowl with an electric whisk until combined. Add the couscous and the dry ingredients and mix until nearly combined. Fold in the lemon zest and parsley. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20 minutes. Remove tin from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then removes the mini cakes and cool on a rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes 2 dozen.
Amendments: I didn't have any plain couscous, so used a pack of Mediterranean flavoured, and left out the cumin, coriander, lemon and parsley. I also left out the sugar and only used a tiny pinch of lo-salt. Mine are very crumbly, and not at all like they're supposed to look, so I don't really know where I went wrong. Is sugar really that important? Oh and I was getting annoyed by all the washing up at this point and so didn't use the electric whisk, I just whisked with a fork. That might not have been whisky enough. And I made 35 small and 4 large, as opposed to the 24 indicated. Ahh well, we live and learn.
Sweet Potato Muffins (from Sensational Vegetable Recipes):
1 cup (175g) sweet potato
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup finely grated tasty cheese
90g butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup buttermilk (that's three-quarters, not 3 or 4)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush melted butter or oil into 12 deep muffin cups (or use silicone bakeware - no need for oiling etc, it rocks!).
Finely grate sweet potato and cheese. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Add sweet potato and cheese, stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.
Add butter, egg and buttermilk all at once to dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined; do not overbeat.
Spoon mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 25 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Turn onto a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, before serving with warm butter.
Amendments: I didn't use salt or pepper, and I didn't have buttermilk (I don't even really know what it is), but google told me a myriad of alternatives, once of which being to add a tbsp of white vinegar to a cup of milk, and stand it for 5-10 minutes, so that's what I did.
Banana (and cranberry) bread (from the Baby-Led Weaning forum)
4oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
half tsp spice (eg. cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave. Mix the dry ingredients (including raisins) in a bowl.
Add the egg to the butter and fold into the dry mix with the mashed banana.
Bake for up to an hour (50 minutes usually suffices - check done by inserting tines of a fork, if they remove clean then its done).
Amendments: I had several *I am so dumb* moments making this. I checked all the ingredients before I started, but neglected to notice the raisins were well past their use by date. Luckily I had some cranberries, so substituted these. It's nice with cranberries, but better with raisins. I made the whole thing, thought "Gosh, that was easier than usual, I must be getting better at this", then realised in one fell swoop that a) I hadn't turned the oven on and b) I hadn't put any banana in. I quickly rectified these, and it turned out lovely. You can substitute pretty much anything for the banana - apple is lovely, or carrot (grate them). Try it - it's delicious, and sugar-free, and you won't be able to get enough of it.
Day 37: Mission complete.