31 December 2014

Nigel’s Ham, Cheese & Apple Muffins

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

The Christmas festivities are over once again.  Fun was had, there was laughter, crackers were pulled, poppers popped, bubbles drunk & many cheers, a couple of cocktails, a delicious feast consumed & crazy pass the parcel played All the build-up, all the preparation & in a blink of an eye gone until next year leaving in their wake….well ham, lots of ham.  We have a little bit of a ham mountain. I feel I have almost half a pig in the fridge & though much ham has been consumed over the last few days I am not convinced it is getting any smaller.  

Fortunately I love the Christmas ham & have yet to reach my limits.  But a little variety is definitely required.  A take on Jamie’s ham, spinach & cheese tart has been made & it was so cheesy, creamy delicious I will have to share it.  You can even kid yourself it’s a little healthy as it has some of the green stuff in it! So for the next few weeks I may have to change the name my blog to “Ham” & any tasty suggestions will be most welcome!

First up though were these tasty morsels from Nigel Slater; ham, cheese & apple muffins to be precise. Ever so cheesy which is always a good thing, little nuggets of ham & just the hint of sweetness from the apple.

Nigel’s Ham, Cheese & Apple Muffins

Any full flavoured cheese will work here. I also added a little mustard powder as mustard is such a good friend to ham.  I also think a few chilli flakes or a pinch of cayenne wouldn’t go amiss.

Makes a dozen


275g / 10oz plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp English mustard powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
175g / 6oz yoghurt
200g / 7oz cooked ham, chopped
One small apple, grated
75g / 2.5oz firm, mature cheese, grated
A little grated cheese to finish
You will also need 12 medium-sized bun tins; paper muffin cases


Pre heat oven to 200C/390F.

Line 12 medium-sized muffin tins with paper muffin cases. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, mustard powder and a little salt in a bowl &  mix well together. In a separate bowl, break the eggs & lightly beat them, stir in the yoghurt, the chopped ham &  the grated apple. Fold the cheese into the yoghurt mixture & lightly mix with the dry ingredients. Gently & quickly to keep them airy & light.

Divide the mixture between the 12 cases, grate over a little cheese & bake for 25 minutes till risen & gold & maybe just a few crunchy toasty cheesy bits. Allow to cool, well at least a little before eating.

Nigel says to eat the same day, which would be easy but after all the over indulgence of the past few days there are limits & a desire not to turn in to a muffin! I found warmed through on day 2 with a little butter they made for the perfect tasty breakfast.

Enjoy & have the happiest of New Year’s!

16 December 2014

{Bookshelf} Ottolenghi's Broccolini & Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves & Coconut from Plenty More

I’ve had my mitts on this gem for a little while but the cooking mojo seems to have vacated the premises these last few months even with new Ottolenghi inspiration on hand! Desperate times indeed.  Well actually not so much the cooking mojo; I’ve been cooking & eating just not photographing, writing & blogging. I’ve realised now that these phases come & they go & that I just need to go with it, no need to force it. It’s happy fun place over here & should never feel like a chore.

I am planning Christmas so reading through cook books & magazines over this past weekend I could feel my enthusiasm begin to return as dozens of recipes caught my attention.  There will be a veritable feast! There will possibly be a maple & orange glazed ham, perhaps a potato, fennel & crispy caper salad though Donna Hay’s crispy leaf potatoes with oregano salt or some herb & parmesan roasties are very close contenders.  And on the side; perhaps asparagus with a dill & mustard sauce as I need to make the most of these tasty green spears in their always too short season. Also as we head full throttle in to the silly season the need for some green among the glasses of bubbly & tempting treats.

And who to turn to but the master of greens; Mr Ottolenghi.  He’s an alchemist of all sorts of flavours but he can elevate greens to a whole new level of delicious.  Just search my archives….there’s green couscous, green pancakes with lime butter, swiss chard fritters, herb pie, asparagus mimosa, chard & saffron omelettes & baby spinach salad with dates.

Plenty More delivers plenty more green inspiration & this one will also possibly grace the Christmas table. Another new & inventive flavour combination from the master; broccolini, edamame & coconut tossed with aromatic black mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilli & coriander. It also returns my cooking mojo, thank you once again Mr Ottolenghi.

Broccolini & Edamame Salad with Curry Leaves & Coconut, from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More

*It is a salad & I love chillies & curry leaves, so fresh chillies chopped & tossed through the salad a few more curry leaves added. I also added some crispy shallots for a sweet little crunch.


2 bunches purple sprouting broccoli or broccolini, trimmed
500g / ½ lb green beans, trimmed
200g / 7 oz shelled frozen edamame
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 ½ tsp black mustard seeds
30 fresh curry leaves, or 40 dried curry leaves
3 whole dried chillies
Zest of 1 lime, plus 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice, more to taste
Zest of 1 lime
1 red chilli, diced (my addition)
⅔ cup coriander leaves
⅔ cup fresh coarsely grated coconut*
Sprinkle of crispy shallots (my addition)

*Fresh coconut would be ideal but I could only fined dessicated, either way it is one delicious salad!


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil & add the broccolini & green beans. Blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender but still with a little bite. Use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables to a colander & run under cold water to stop them cooking & keep their vibrant green hue. Pat dry, transfer to large bowl & set aside until ready to assemble the salad.
Return pot of water to a boil, add the edamame & blanch for 2 minutes. Place in colander, run under colder water, pat dry, & add to the other vegetables. Sprinkle 1/2 a teaspoon salt over vegetables, stir & set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat & add the onion & a  pinch of salt.  Cook for a few minutes until soft & then add the black mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the curry leaves, chillies & lime zest. Sauté for a couple of  minutes before pouring mixture over vegetables. Stir & let sit for 10 minutes.
Just before serving, add diced red chilli, lime juice, coriander, coconut, crispy shallots & drizzle with remaining olive oil. Gently stir & serve.

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