Sunday, April 12, 2015

Blueberry and Lemon Scones

Tomorrow, our baby girl will be three weeks old. I think that, every day, I fall in love with her a little bit more. Sometimes, I look at her and I'm overwhelmed with the fact that something as wonderful as this has been growing in my belly. But, before you think I'm going to sugarcoat it all now, yes, those are demanding times and, yes, we're totally sleep deprived. At night, I have to get up two or three times. And during the day, our baby is often hungry exactly when we're about to eat or when I wanted to take care of something else. There's no way you can adhere to your own rhythm as a mother. But, once you get to know your baby a bit, there are moments you can use to do something for yourself. Most of the time, I opt for taking a nap! I started practicing Qi Gong again and I even have some time to take care of this blog. I find that it helps to at least make a little room for certain things you used to do before the birth of your child because during the remaining time, the world revolves around her - which is exactly how it's supposed to be and which is, as exhausting as it may be, still the most fulfilling thing in the world.

As you know, baking is something that usually doesn't exhaust me, it fills me with joy. At the moment, I go for "mix all ingredients in one bowl, pour the batter into your cake tin and bake for so-and-so many minutes"-kind of recipes (last week's banana bread was one of those). Leila Lindholm's scones, too, are always a safe bet. The basic dough is thrown together in a few minutes and there are some nice variations to your classic scone recipe. I went for blueberry and lemon this time since I thought that would fit for a sunny spring day. We enjoyed them together with coffee when Julia's grand-parents came over to visit last Wednesday.

Blueberry and Lemon Scones
(from: Leila Lindholm - Piece of Cake)

510g plain flour
0.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
40g brown sugar
125g cold butter
1 egg
200ml milk
grated zest of 2 lemons
100g blueberries (fresh or frozen)

one more egg (lightly beaten) and a little brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 250°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Cut butter into pieces and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers. Mix the egg, milk and lemon zest and add this to the flour mixture. Also add  the berries (try not too crush them too much) and combine to a dough.

Place the dough onto a surface sprinkled with a little flour and flatten it until it's about 3cm thick. Cut it into triangle pieces (or you can also use a big round cookie cutter).

Place the scones onto your baking tray. Brush with the egg and sprinkle some brown sugar onto them. Bake for about 10 minutes. I usually have to give them a little more time. Try not to overbake them, though. As you can see, mine almost turned too dark.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Banana Bread with Millet

I've got big news for you! On March 23, our precious daughter Julia was born and we're happy to report that she's healthy. She's undoubtedly the most amazing thing that ever happened to me and I enjoy every day with her. Of course, she keeps us up at night, but I guess it could be worse. Most of the time, she's an angel and it's so exciting to get to know her. And somehow, despite my lack of sleep, I found myself in the kitchen yesterday morning, baking banana bread. It spontaneously overcame me when I looked at three over-ripe bananas on our fruit plate and I remembered this simple recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I'm a big fan of millet and I had been wondering how this cake would turn out. The uncooked grains add a crunch to the smooth and moist dough. I like it a lot. Also, it's not that sweet and it's just as perfect for afternoon tea as well as for breakfast.

(from the fabulous Smitten Kitchen)

3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
80ml virgin coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies, or olive oil
65g light brown sugar
60-80ml maple syrup, depending on how sweet you like it
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 pinch of ground cloves
180g flour or spelt flour
50g uncooked millet

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a 22-25cm cake tin with parchment paper.

In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher, the back of a wooden spoon or with a fork until virtually smooth but a few tiny lumps remain. Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves over mixture and stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then millet.

Pour mixture into your prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 - 50 minutes. Cool loaf in the pan or on a wire rack.

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