January, 2013

Jan 13

Cranberry and orange polenta muffins

Cranberry and orange polenta muffins

Cranberry and orange polenta muffins

There’s nothing like a spot of homemade baking on a cold winter’s day. Try these gluten free muffins (which can also be made dairy free) to warm you up and bring some cheer to these short, dark days.

One of the keys to making great muffins is using a good quality non-stick tin – there’s nothing worse than your baking getting stuck when you remove it from the oven. I have found these UK- manufactured tins by Great British Bakeware to be really good – they have a really nice scratch resistant, non-stick finish and are easy to clean. Using a good tin means you’re one step closer to the perfect muffin!

Cranberry and orange polenta muffins

Makes 12


–  120g Wheat and gluten free plain flour blend

–    100g Polenta (N.B. Ensure is gluten free )

–    50g ground almonds

–    1 tablespoons baking powder

–    1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

–    1400g golden caster sugar

–    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

–    Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges

–    250 ml sunflower oil

–    250 ml milk or soya milk

–    2 large free-range eggs

–    200g fresh blueberries


1)    Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6

2)    Line a muffin tin with paper cakes

4)    Sift the flour, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Mix in the polenta, ground almonds and sugar and make a well in the centre.

5)    Pour the oil and the egg into the milk and orange juice and whisk until well combined.

6)    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently. Stir in the cranberries and orange zest

7)    Divide the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 15- 20 minutes until golden brown.

8)    These muffins are delicious fresh for breakfast or a snack and also freeze extremely well.

Thanks to Great British Bakeware by George Wilkinson for the excellent muffin tin.

Jan 13

Pea and ham soup

Pea and ham soup

It’s cold outside. It’s raining and it’s the perfect day for snuggling up indoors. On these days, I love to make soup. Homemade soup is cheap, nourishing and soothing to make. It makes such a tasty lunch, too.

One of my favourite soup recipes is pea and ham. It’s so easy to make and takes around half an hour from cupboard to table. I use frozen peas as I love their flavour and colour. This recipe is a great one to make at this time of year, as the ingredients are very easy to source – if you don’t have them, you can most likely pick them up at the corner shop.

Here is my recipe:

Pea and ham soup

Serves 4 generously


50g butter

1 small white onion, chopped fairly finely

500g frozen peas

800ml hot vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp full-fat yoghurt

100g excellent quality thick ham, shredded


1)   Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently over a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes until the onion is softened, slightly translucent but not browned.

2)   Add the peas and stir well, followed by the stock, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Stir again and leave to bubble away for 10 minutes until the peas are tender

3)   Remove the bay leaf and blend the soup until smooth using a blender or a stick blender

4)   Add the cream, crème fraîche or full-fat yoghurt, whatever you are using and stir well.

5)   Taste the soup to check the seasoning and serve immediately with the ham on top. Any leftover soup freezes well in individual portions

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