Category Archives: baking

Savoury Courgette Tomato Mozzarella Muffins

I have a penchant for vegetable cakes, we all know how delicious carrot cake can be, even without the icing!  Cakes with vegetables baked in can be a healthier option by providing a tasty way to increase vegetable consumption, especially for children who aren’t keen on anything resembling a vegetable.

This recipe contains no butter or sugar, carrots can be substituted for courgettes if you want a sweeter batter or a mix of both is good too.  I have used white, brown and a mix of the two flours, all are equally tasty, the latter having more fibre of course.

The sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted with roasted cherry tomatoes.

Give the grated courgettes a good squeeze through a sieve to eliminate excess liquid before adding to your batter.

I used just a sprinkle of parmesan before baking, I was over-exuberant with it once and it just over-ran and melted in a puddle all around the muffins in the tin which I still picked off and ate, so very tasty, melted, baked cheese!

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

Makes around 12 large muffins


1 large egg
50ml olive oil
150ml semi-skimmed milk
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes (drained and chopped)
1 large courgette, grated
Salt and black pepper
150g mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
¼ tsp paprika
grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top


Put the egg, olive oil and milk into a bowl and whisk together until blended.  In another larger bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, pour the egg/oil/milk mixture over the flour and gently combine, muffins need minimal mixing or they can become rubbery once baked.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, courgettes and the seasonings and paprika to your taste.  Finally add the chopped mozzarella and combine together.

Pop mixture into a prepared muffin tin lined with muffin cases, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the tops of the muffins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once halfway though.


Lebkuchen – We Should Cocoa

Lebkuchen, a traditional soft German biscuit, has been a part of my Christmas from long before I can even remember.  My Oma would send over packets of Chocolate Lebkuchen and Pffernussen for our Christmas treats.

I have been buying Bahlsen Lebkuchen for years but for the last couple of years I have found it increasingly difficult to find them so have decided to try my hand at making my own.  The recipe from Woman and Home looks the most authentic one looking at the list of ingredients, except I am leaving out the mixed peel & crystallised ginger.  I am most looking forward to dipping them in chocolate!

I’m entering this blog post into the we should cocoa monthly challenge hosted by The Chocolate Teapot  and Chocolate Log Blog – this month it’s to make something with chocolate and cinnamon.

Lebkuchen – adapted from and inspired by Woman and Home Recipe.


250g plain flour
75g ground almonds
2 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g honey
75g butter
150g plain chocolate


1.  Combine the flour, almonds, spices, cocoa powder, baking powder and
     bicarbonate of soda into a medium sized bowl.

2.  Melt the butter and honey in a pan over a low heat, stirring until the
     butter melts.

3.  Pour the honey butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well to
     make a stiff dough.  Chill if the mixture is a touch sticky to work with.

Heat your oven now to 180 C/160 C fan/gas 4.

4.  Shape the dough into small golf ball sized balls.  Place on a lined
     baking tray, well spaced apart, I used my macaron pans, I love my 
     macaron pans.  Flatten each one to make a round biscuit.

5.  Bake for about 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

6.  Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl over simmering
     water, heat gently.  When melted dip the biscuits into the chocolate then
     leave to cool again on a wire rack.


Stollen Pastries

My lovely Oma, who Miss ND is named after, would make many Stollen every Christmas and send out to all of her family.  Even when I left home to live the single city girl life and then the married coastal life, she still sent me one every year.  She was the best baker I knew and her recipes live on with us. 

Stollen, pronounced Sch-toe-len, is a traditional German rich yeasted bread made with dried fruits, mixed peel and almonds usually in a loaf shape, this year I’m making Stollen pastries for munching with gallons of tea in the run up to Christmas.


500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet easy bake yeast
3 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
2 rounded tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp salt
90g unsalted butter – softened
200ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 large free range organic egg
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
250g mix raisins/sultanas/mixed peel/
              chopped glace cherries
zest of 1-2 clemantines and 1 lemon
250g golden marzipan
flaked almonds to decorate to your taste

1 medium free range organic egg
1 tablespoon milk

Icing Wash
50g icing sugar
4 tablespoons hot water


1.  Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, spice and salt together in a large bowl,
     then rub in the butter.

2.  Warm the black treacle with the milk then beat in the egg and oil.  Add
     this to the flour/butter mix and stir in well moulding into a ball.  Leave
     for 10-15 minutes.  Then knead the dough before covering and leaving
     to rise until it has doubled in size.


3.  Roll the dough out to a large rectangular size and scatter with the dried
     fruit and zests.  Knead the dough again until the ingredients are well

Pre-heat your oven now to 200°C/180°C/Gas 6.

4.  Roll the dough out to a large rectangular shape, about 18″ x 6″ (or
     thereabouts), dampen the edges to help the dough stick together when

5.  Place the marzipan on one edge of the dough and roll the dough
     around it.  Pinch the edges to seal.

6.  Slice the dough into 15 or so rounds and place on a couple of lined 
     baking trays, well spaced out.    

7.  Beat the medium egg with the milk and glaze the tops of the pastries.
     Sprinkle with the flaked almonds generously.

8.  Bake for around 15-20 minutes.  Whilst still warm brush over with the
     icing wash as desired, I do some with and some without (for me & TC).

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas around here!


Carrot Cake

I overdid the carrot grating somewhat with my trusty food processor this week whilst making my veg-packed tomato sauce, so there was nothing for it but to bake a carrot cake! I do love carrot cake but am not always keen on eating cakes with buttercream on but I didn’t slather it all the way round the sides so a little concession, I think! I’m not a great fan of spices in cakes but have put a touch of cinnamon – nutmeg, ginger or mixed spice could also be used.  This recipe contains nuts, please omit if allergic.




150g unsalted butter, nicely softened
100g soft light brown sugar
3 organic free range eggs

200g Allinsons wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 generous pinches of salt

Zest of 1 large orange plus 1 tblspn of the juice
200g grated carrots
80g walnuts, chopped
6-8 walnut halves to decorate
80g sultanas

Buttercream Icing

125g Cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 180C or 160C fan, line the bases of 2 x 7″/18cm sandwich tins with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the softened butter & sugar together until pale and creamy.
2.  Add the eggs & beat until combined.
3. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and fold gently into the wet ingredients.
4. Fold in the grated carrots, walnuts, sultanas, orange zest & juice.
5. Divide evenly between the 2 baking tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out cleanly.
6. Cool on a wire rack.
7. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together, then add the icing sugar gradually and beat until combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8. Once the cakes are cool enough, slather buttercream icing over one half and sandwich the other half on top, then cover the top of the cake with the remaining icing. Decorate with walnut halves.
9. Make a pot of tea, cut a slice and enjoy.

Nutritional Info:
Carrots Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, B-complex, E, K, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.
Walnuts omega-3, B6, E, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, including phenolic acids, tannins especially ellagitannins and flavonoids.