Lemon & Raspberry Muffins

I love Nigella recipes because they’re consistently quick, easy and delicious. These muffins are no exception, taking under 40 minutes from start to finish. The recipe is also incredibly flexible – you can use fresh or frozen raspberries (or any other fruit for that matter) or try switching the lemon for another citrus fruit of your choice. Happy baking!

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Ingredients (makes 12)
60g butter
200g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
150g caster sugar
Juice and z est of 1 lemon
Milk (approx. 120ml)
1 large egg
150g raspberries

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Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a muffin tin with 12 patty pans.

Melt the butter in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and lemon zest.

Pour the lemon juice into a large measuring jug and add milk until it comes to 200ml (don’t worry about it curdling). Add the milk mixture to the melted butter and then beat in the egg.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined (don’t overmix it as your muffins will be tough). Gently stir through the raspberries.

Spoon the batter into the patty pans and bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Nigella’s ‘Lemon-Raspberry Muffins’ in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

Coconut and Raspberry Bread

This is a ‘bread’ like banana bread, in that it’s really more like a bread-shaped cake. Name aside, it’s super simple to make and perfect for brunch, afternoon tea or dessert. I like it because it’s deliciously moist and not too sweet, but feel free to dust it with icing sugar to make it extra decadent. thumb_img_2444_1024

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
1 ¾ cups desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups coconut milk (I use Vitasoy unsweetened coconut milk found in the longlife milk section at most supermarkets)
¾ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ⅔ cups self-raising flour
1 cup frozen raspberries

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Method
Add the coconut and coconut milk to a large bowl and stir to combine. Cover with Gladwrap and let it stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Spray a loaf pan with cooking oil and line with baking paper, ensuring you have overhang at both sides to help get it out.

Stir sugar, egg and vanilla essence in to the coconut mixture. Gently stir in the flour and then fold through the frozen raspberries.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted come out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with icing sugar to serve if desired. Enjoy!

thumb_img_2449_1024It’s also delicious toasted with margarine or butter!

Recipe adapted from a 2006 issue of Super Food Ideas.

Vanilla Raspberry Layer Cake

Well.. I lied. I completely intended to blog more in the last few weeks (as evidenced by my last post!) but I’ve just been too busy. I had my 21st Birthday to plan, uni assessments galore, the Psychology ball to organise, and now Laura’s 18th is coming up in a couple of weeks. Yikes, I get exhausted just thinking about it all! However, while I haven’t been blogging, I have been baking.

Here is the cake I made for my 21st Birthday afternoon tea – triple layer vanilla cake with a tangy raspberry filling & super glossy meringue frosting, topped with vanilla bean macarons. The raspberry filling was perfect as, otherwise, this cake was going to be too sweet, so I would certainly recommend leaving it (or perhaps substituting it for a tangy lemon curd if you’re not a raspberry fan) to cut the sweetness from the frosting.

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Don’t worry, the empty plates in the background didn’t stay empty!

For my 21st birthday cake, I used 2 packets of Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Vanilla cake mix, with some extra vanilla added so they tasted more ‘home-made’ divided into 3 20cm lined pans. I did this for 2 main reasons; it saved a lot of time (and time was precious as I had so much other cooking to do!), and because it reliably produces an even, stable, fine-crumbed cake that is easy to work with. If you don’t want to use cake mixes, just make a double batch of your favourite vanilla/butter cake and that will work as well 🙂

The raspberry filling needs to be made at least a day ahead but keeps well in the fridge so can be made up to a week ahead.

I also made the macaron shells a couple of days ahead to save me some stress on the actual party day.

The frosting should be made the day of serving as it does not keep particularly well.

Ingredients

For the raspberry filling (make at least a day ahead)
340g frozen raspberries
⅔ cups water
½ cup white, granulated sugar
1 tblspn lemon juice
2 ½ tblspns cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup of water

For the cake
2 boxes Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Vanilla cake mix (made following instructions, so add the eggs, milk, butter etc. as specified by the box)
½ tablespoon vanilla extract

For the meringue frosting
6 egg whites
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
2 tblspns liquid glucose (or light corn syrup)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the macarons
https://bakerholicsanonymous.wordpress.com/recipes-2/cookies-biscuits-macarons/vanilla-bean-macarons/

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Method
To make the raspberry filling:
In a saucepan combine the raspberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20mins  or until the raspberries have broken down.
Remove the mixture from the heat and strain with a fine mesh sieve. Return the stained mixture to the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in water. Whisk the cornstarch mix into the raspberry mixture.
Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Refrigerate overnight to set.

To make the cakes: Line & grease 3 20cm cake pans. Set oven to temperature specified by the cake mix boxes. Make cakes according to box instructions, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to each cake mix & divide mixture among the three pans. Bake for specified time, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

To assemble the cake: Carefully place a cake layer on your serving platter. Top with a generous amount of raspberry filling and spread gently using a spatula to make an even layer. Top with another cake layer and repeat. Finally, top with the final cake, ready to be frosted.

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To make the meringue frosting: Add egg whites, sugar, liquid glucose and cream of tartar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 54°C on a thermometer (be patient, it does get there eventually!).
Beat heated mixture with electric beaters on a low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Frost cake immediately by piling the frosting on top of the cake and, using a metal spatula, gently spreading from the top down. Smoothe as much as possible with your spatula.

Top with 6 macarons, 3 of each colour and a candle (if desired).

Serve each piece with a macaron & enjoy!

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Raspberry filling recipe adapted from: Pinterest (various sources with the same basic recipe)

Meringue frosting recipe adapted from Sweetapolita’s ‘Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake’ http://sweetapolita.com/2015/05/perfectly-pink-angel-food-cake/

Raspberry Sorbet

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there! Tonight, I have the honour of preparing the Mother’s Day dessert for a dinner party with my extended family. After much thought, I have decided to make a rich chocolate tart to serve with raspberry sorbet.

This raspberry sorbet recipe is one of the first I ever used when cooking by myself. In the school holidays, my sister and I would each cook one thing out of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks we purchased in 2007. Mine would be from “Good Food: Desserts” (surprise, surprise) and Laura’s from “Potatoes”. As you can tell, it certainly wasn’t the most nutritious meal! But it was a lot of fun and helped Laura and I get into cooking.

I still love this sorbet – it’s perfectly tangy but sweet with a strong raspberry flavour. It’s also great as it doesn’t require an ice-cream machine. Hopefully it’s as useful for you as it has been for me 🙂

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Ingredients (serves 8-10 on the side or 6-8 as the whole dessert)
1 ½ cups water
1 cup caster sugar
900g frozen raspberries
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
3 egg whites

Method
Stir the water & sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat & simmer, uncovered, without stirring for 5 minutes.

Blend the raspberries, lemon juice & sugar syrup in a blender until smooth.

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Push mixture through a fine sieve into a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan (or 2 smaller pans) lined with clingfilm. Discard seeds. Cover with foil; freeze until firm.

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Coarsely chop the frozen berry mixture and add it to the blender with the egg whites. Blend until smoother and paler in colour. Return mixture to the pan, cover & freeze until firm.

Serve & enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Good Food: Desserts’

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Raspberry Jam

Wow, what a year! It feels a bit premature to be saying that as it’s only November but I have now officially finished my uni year and am two-thirds of the way through my undergraduate degree! I’ll still be working throughout my three month uni break but now that it’s heating up, the cricket is on, the jacarandas are in full bloom, and Christmas carols are being played in stores, it’s starting to feel like the year is coming to a close 🙂

Today’s recipe is very versatile. I am making it to serve as a macaron filling for some raspberry macarons I’ve made to decorate my Grandma’s 80th Birthday cake for this evening but it could also be used sandwiched between two sponge cakes for a Victoria sponge, between biscuits to make monte carlos, or on toast.

It is a vividly berry-coloured, clear looking jam (or jelly for those of you in the US), with an intense raspberry flavour and tang. I particularly like it as it’s not too sweet and it takes very little time and know-how to make.

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Ingredients (makes about 2 small jars worth)
175g caster sugar
300g raspberries (fresh, or defrosted frozen)
Juice of half a small lemon
30g jam setting-agent (I use jamsetta)

Method
In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in 100ml of water and bring to the boil.

Once the syrup has been boiling for 2 mins, add the raspberries, lemon juice and jamsetta.

Bring back to the boil, squashing the raspberries with a spatula while stirring, and let boil for 1-2 more minutes before removing from the heat and pouring into sterilised jars.

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Allow to cool for 15mins without the lids on the jars, then put the lids on and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set.

Enjoy!

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Recipe partially based on ‘Raspberry Marmalade’ from Secrets of Macarons by José Maréchal

Berry Coulis

Delicious with a vast array of desserts, a tangy berry coulis is a simple way to add depth and decadence to desserts.

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Ingredients
500g berries of your choice (defrosted)
1 ½ tablespoons icing sugar
3 tablespoons water

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Method
Combine ingredients in a large stick blender beaker.

Blend with a stick blender until liquid and add extra water until desired consistency is reached.

For a seed-free coulis, push the mixture through a fine sieve.

Transfer to a serving jug.