My recent discovery of The Book Depository has been a little dangerous. My debut purchase involved a heap of kids books, put away for Christmas, some running/exercise books and of course some foody books. I'm a sucker for fast, easy recipes, so couldn't say no to Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food. This book is great for ideas when you've got some staples in the pantry, are short of time and lack inspiration. Slater shows you how to prepare common ingredients, several different ways which I love. His recipes are also open to interpretation so you can totally work with what you've got in the fridge. There are no pretty pictures, so if that's your thing then it might not be for you, but if you often find yourself preparing dinner shortly before you want to eat it, this book is great!
Because I am an unashamed sweet tooth, I couldn't go past Slater's dessert version: Real Fast Desserts. I have already tried out his Chocolate Almonds and they were a big hit, so I'll be giving a few more of these recipes a go soon.
I normally order my dark chocolate two ways. Callebaut brand 54% callets in a 2kg bag, which I use for muffins and biscuits as the callets are small. I also buy a two-pack of Sicao Classic Dark (also 54%) 1.5kg bags. The Sicao brand is a little cheaper than Callebaut but I consider the quality to be comparable. The Sicao callets however are large (akin to Nestle melts) and while they don't work well in bite size treats, they are perfect for melting. Sicao have recently changed their product coding, and confusion at the distributor meant I received 1 packet of 54% and 1 packet of 70% (which happen to be the smaller callets). This is great for me because I haven't before experiemented with 70% callets. If I can stop myself from eating them all straight from the container, I might test out some darker recipes.
Another exciting part of my recent chocolate delivery was a Callebaut flavoured sampler pack of chocolate buds. This includes about a cup measure each of cappucino, strawberry, lemon (interestingly these are green, not yellow), caramel and orange flavoured buds. I lifted my self-imposed chocolate ban today and made some Apple Caramel Muffins (below).
Apple Caramel Muffins
These are a variation of my favourite Banana Choc Chip Muffins, made this afternoon because I was out of bananas.
60g butter, melted
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
1/3 cup raw caster sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, grated with skin on
1 cup caramel buds
- Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.
- Mix flour, cinnamon and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Lightly whisk eggs with milk, add to flour mix along with apple and melted butter.
- Mix with a spatula until batter just comes together.
- Add caramel buds and mix to combine.
- Spoon mixture into muffin cases and bake for 12-15 mins or until just beginning to brown.
I kind of added lib with this recipe and hoped it would work. It did. I'm not a massive caramel fan so find the caramel buds a little sweet but the combination of flavours definitely works. Now I have to think of some interesting recipes for the other flavours.
Head over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and check out what some other bloggers have in their kitchens this month.