Chocolate chip coffee muffins

Okay, I must confess I am becoming a tad obsessed with baking muffins.  They are so easy and virtually impossible for a baking novice like me to mess up.  This weekend I decided to experiment  a bit using my basic muffin recipe as a base (with a few minor adjustments) and another yummy creation was born.  Who needs a latte when you’ve got these?

What to use

2 cups flour

3 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

2 tbs instant coffee

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup cream liqueur ( I used Amarula Cream Liquer but I think Bailey’s will work just as well)

What to do

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in  large bowl.  Add coffee to milk and stir until completely dissolved.  Add to that mixture the liqueur and stir well. In a separate bowl, beat egg with a fork and add milk mixture and oil. Stir well.   Pour wet ingredients into a well in the flour mixture and stir until moistened.  Dust chocolate chips lightly with flour and fold into batter.  Pour into lined muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Chocolate chip goodness!

Fresh out of the oven


Savoury Plantain Pie

What to use

Four large ripe plantains

1 cup milk

1 egg

3 cups grated cheddar cheese

pinch of salt

1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

What to do

Cut each plantain in half.  Place plantains in large pot and boil until soft.  Peel and slice plantains diagonally. Each slice should be about 1/2 inch thick. Beat egg and add to milk. Stir in pinch of salt and black pepper. In a greased shallow baking dish, alternate layers of plantain and cheese starting with a layer of plantain.  Pour milk mixture over layers and top with a layer of panko bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 to375 degree for 45 minutes or until golden brown.


I absolutely love when people try my recipes and make them their own.  My sister did her take on this by using a mixture plantains and sweet potato (which she also boiled first).  She topped her pie with crushed Post cereal.  She swears it’s better than my rendition! lol

Here’s the proof:-

Chi’s Savoury Plantain and Sweet Potato Pie

Pumpkin and Cranberry Muffins

I love baking on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It’s a perfect way to relax and I can palm off treat my co-workers to some goodies on Monday morning.  I decided to use whatever I had in my pantry for inspiration.  Turns out I had a can of pumpkin and a bag of dried cranberries.

What to use

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 handful of dried cranberries

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp allspice

1  1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

What to do

Preheat oven toe 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with muffin cups or spray nonstick muffin tin with some cooking spray.

Sift flour and baking powder into a small bowl.  Add a generous handful of dried cranberries.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, allspice, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixture until  smooth.

Add the flour mixture and then fold everything together until combined.

Pour into muffin tin.  Sprinkle each muffin with a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake until golden brown for about 25 to 30 minutes.  Stick a toothpick in the center of each muffin and if it comes out clean you know you’re done.

Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Jammin’ Orange Chicken

I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch which caters towards weight loss and diabetes diets. It made for a tasty, quick, healthy and satisfying dinner.

What to use

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (seasoned with 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of kosher salt , juice of half of a lemon and 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper)

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 onion (finely chopped)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup chicken broth

7 tbs sweet orange marmalade

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1  1/2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce

What to do

Wrap the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and place on a cutting board.  Gently pound each breast with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness.  Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-heat.  Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until well browned and cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a place and cover.

Add the remaining teaspoon of the oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.  Pour in the broth, orange juice, marmalade, white wine vinegar and soy sauce and stir until smooth.  Cook until slightly thickened. Return the chicken to the skillet and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes while coating with the sauce.

Served with a some green beans sauteed in butter, sea salt, black pepper and minced garlic.

Egg fried rice

No long story or clever anecdote tonight.  Just dinner! Chinese without the takeout.

What to use

3/4 cup long grain rice

2 eggs (beaten)

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves  (minced)

1 tsp lemongrass (ch0pped finely)

4 stalks spring onion (diced)

1 can peas and carrots

2 tbsp soy sauce (preferably reduced sodium)

a few sprigs of chives for garnishing

Chines five spice powder ( a couple dashes)

sea salt

What to do

Cook rice, drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.  Scramble eggs over low heat. Heat the oil in a wok or deep skillet until really hot.  Add the garlic, spring onions, lemon grass and peas and carrots and saute for about two minutes.  Stir in the rice and then add scrambled eggs.  Add soy sauce, five spice and salt to taste.  Saute for a few minutes more and then transfer to serving bowls.

Caprese Tarts (with a touch of feta)

I wanted to do a little twist on one of my favourite salads, the caprese salad. The caprese salad is  just a simple combination of tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.  I used the same ingredients but decided to make into a little pastry instead. This recipe makes three tarts.

What to use

1/2 sheet of puff pastry (divided into three squares)

3 tsps of pesto

1/2 large tomato (sliced thickly)

3 tbs fresh basil leaves (julienned)

3 slices of feta cheese (tomato & basil flavoured preferably)

1 egg (whisked with 1 tsp of water to make egg wash)

dried oregano

Sea salt

black pepper

What to do

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Layer a baking tray with parchment paper.  Thaw out 1/2 sheet puff pastry and divide into three rectangles and place on baking tray. Be sure to leave a few inches between each rectangle.

Spread 1 tsp of pesto in the center of each rectangle.  Add one thick slice of tomato to each.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each slice of tomato. Add some chopped basil, a thick slice of mozzarella, a little more basil and top with a slice of feta cheese.

Brush edges of each rectangle with egg wash and top each with a sprinkle of oregano. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Before they hit the oven….

Out of the oven….

tomato and mozzarella tarts

Close up…

Ready to dig in…

Ridiculously easy and absolutely delicious!

!!!!Updated to add new photo!!!

I couldn’t resist making these again the following night.  Just a little variation in presentation….

Baked eggs with spinach and cheese


Love and eggs are best when they are fresh. – Russian proverb

What to use

3 eggs

1/3 cup red peppers

2 tbs chopped chives

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

salt and pepper (to taste)

cooking spray

What to do


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two ramekins with cooking spray.  In a mixing bowl, add eggs and gently stir in remaining ingredients except cheese.  Don’t whisk!  Top with cheese.  Pour into ramekins and bake for 20 minutes.

Garnish with a little chopped chive.

This works perfectly for a brunch. You can increase the number of eggs and other ingredients accordingly and use a muffin tin to serve lots of people. Each person will then have a perfectly baked omelette and you don’t have to slave over a frying pan!

And this is what they looked like on the inside after I nibbled off all that lovely top layer of cheesy goodness!


Roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwich

Roasting is fast become my favourite way of preparing vegetables.  I absolutely love the resulting flavours. I was on the hunt for a recipe to try  and adapted this recipe from Ina Garten for  dinner tonight. Ina’s recipe was a little too long and involved for a quick dinner for one so I did a few short cuts which I don’t think hurt the recipe one bit.

What to use

1 red bell pepper

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1 tbs olive oil

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)

pinch of coarse ground black pepper

pinch of sea salt

2 tbs goat cheese ( I used a garlic & herb flavoured one.)

handful of fresh spinach leaves

thick, chunky ,crusty bread of your choice (e.g ciabatta)

What to do

Cut pepper in half and remove seeds and stem. Place on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.   In the meantime, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and salt and set aside.  When pepper is done, allow to cool for a few minutes and remove skin.   Place peppers in vinaigrette and let sit for a few minutes while you toast bread.  I used an Asiago cheese bread. You can also place bread under the broiler for a minute or two.  Spread goat cheese on toasted spread, add roasted pepper and top with spinach.  And there you have it! Delicious, satisfying and healthy.



Shrimp with Spicy Asian Orange Dipping Sauce

I’m pretty bummed. My brand new camera fell and broke so I’m back to relying on my point and shoot. 😦 I’m not exactly thrilled with my food pics these days.  Hopefully, I can get it repaired soon.

Anyhoo, it’s Sunday afternoon and I was lounging around and feeling peckish.  I was rummaging through the fridge to see what I could rustle up and realized I had some frozen shrimp tucked away.  I decided to whip up this quick snack .

What to use

1 dozen shrimp (peeled with tails on)

1 pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp red chili flakes

2 teaspoons of olive oil

1 tsp lime juice

2 garlic cloves (minced)

3 tbs sweet orange marmalade

1 tsp red chili paste

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tsp ketchup

1/2 tsp sesame oil

pinch of coarse ground black pepper

2 tbs butter

chopped parsley for garnish

What to do

Place shrimp in medium sized bowl and add salt, chili flakes, lime juice, olive oil and garlic. Heat large skillet and add butter. Saute shrimp until slightly browned.

In a small serving dish, combine marmalade, chili paste, soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil and black pepper and stir well.

Plate shrimp and sprinkle with chili flakes and chopped parsley with dip on the side.

Roasted Acorn Squash soup

Worries go down better with soup. – Jewish proverb.

What to use

2 acorn squash

1/2 teaspoon dark brown sugar

sprinkle of nutmeg

1 carrot ( sliced)

2 stalks celery (chopped)

1/2 white onion (chopped)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

What to do

Wash each squash and cut off the tops.  Remove seeds. Place squash in foil and sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

When squash is done, scoop out insides of squash and set aside.

Saute carrots, celery and onion in olive oil and add salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock and flesh of the squash.  Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally and add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and puree.

Pour soup into shell of squash and serve.

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