Friday Favourites – Orange & Poppyseed Muffins


I have tried various muffin recipes over the years and although they have been relatively successful I have never found one that suited what I was looking for.  Some were too sweet, too dry or just like an over-sized cupcake.

Here is a muffin recipe I tried quite recently but it has already become a firm favourite.  The basic recipe come from the book “Down to Earth”, written by Rhonda Hetzel who writes the blog of the same name.


1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup orange pulp
1/4 cup poppyseeds

Beat the oil and sugar, add egg and milk and mix thoroughly.  Add orange pulp and poppyseeds.  Finally, add the flour and combine gently.  Do not overmix.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffins pans.

Bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

I make these to use up the orange pulp from when I squeeze the oranges from our trees.  If you want to increase the orange flavour you could try substituting orange juice for some of the milk.  I have not tried this but might next time I make them.

I make 12 generous-sized muffins from this quantity.  The muffins also freeze well

The basic recipe suggests that you can add anything you like.  I have made lime and coconut, banana , cherry and coconut as well as apple and cinnamon using this recipe.

Now it is my turn to ask a question.  I would love to be able to make good savoury muffins with grated cheese, grated vegies and herbs.  Could I use this basic recipe and just leave out the sugar?

I look forward to your suggestions and ideas.

Friday Favourites – Stuffed Capsicums (Red Peppers)


This is a meal (can’t really call it a recipe as such) that rarely ever makes it onto my menu plan.  I make it when I happen to find suitable red capsicums (peppers) at a reasonable price – generally $2.99/kg or less.

2012-05-11 01There is no right or wrong way to make these.  This is simply how I do it.

Allow 1 medium red capsicum (pepper) per person.  Cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and stalk.

Place halves skin side up in an ovenproof glass dish.  Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Then transfer to the oven (180C) for about half an hour or until skin is starting to loosen and char.

Remove and invert the halves and stuff.

For the stuffing I use pre-cooked short grain rice.  Heat the rice in the microwave – this makes it easier to mix in the other ingredients.  I add grated tasty cheese, dried onion powder or veg stock powder, black pepper and one or two things from the following list – diced ham, bacon or salami, chopped baby spinach, chopped parsley, Tabasco, chopped mushrooms.  The stuffing is really limited only by your imagination.

When the stuffing ingredients are combined use it to fill the capsicum (pepper) shells.  Return to the oven or grill to heat through.  Top with some grated cheese for the last 5 minutes.

You can include breadcrumbs with the cheese.  In the illustration (last night’s dinner), I sliced avocado on top then added the cheese.

Serve with a side salad.

This is a relatively quick and easy main meal which can easily be gluten free and/or vegetarian.

Friday Favourites – Trifle & Lemon Delicious

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This week I have 2 desserts for you to try.  They would possibly be regarded by many as ‘old-fashioned’ but that is not necessarily a bad thing – they have stood the test of time.  These recipes come from a time when dessert was created from basic ingredients from the pantry and leftovers, along with seasonal produce from the garden.


1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add flour, juice and rind.  Mix well.  Separate the eggs, add yolks and milk to mixture.  Place the whites in a separate bowl and beat until stiff.  Fold the beaten egg white into the mixture.  Pour into an ovenproof dish.  Stand the dish in a tray of water (about 2-3cm deep) and place in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is firm to touch and golden.

The finished product is like a lemon self-saucing pudding.  This can be served warm or cold with ice-cream, cream or custard.Now for the trifle.  I am writing the specifically in response to a question from Jeni.  I make trifle about once each year and do not use a recipe.  It is the result of my memories of eating trifle when I was a child.  So, here goes:


Sponge cake (a little stale is better)
Jelly (red or green)
Custard (cold  and thick pouring consistency)
Tinned peaches
Orange juice/peach juice/sherry

You do need to plan ahead and make the jelly the day before.  Use only 375ml water instead of 500ml to make the jelly a bit stiffer.  Pour into a shallow dish to set.

Slice cake into thin slabs, spread with jam (strawberry is my preference) and sandwich together.  Cut cake into small pieces and set aside.

Cut jelly into cubes (bite-sized pieces).

Cut the peach slices into bite-sized pieces.

Assemble the trifle in a glass bowl starting with a layer of cake pieces.  Drizzle with a little of the juice or sherry.  Sprinkle with coconut and pour a small amount of custard over the cake layer.  Add jelly, then peaches with a little coconut and custard between each layer.

Repeat the process until all ingredients are used up.  Finish with a generous sprinkle of coconut.


The coconut can be toasted or slivered almonds may be used as well.  I used some sliced glace cherries to garnish the trifle this time.  Many trifles includes cream but I do not eat cream and prefer to serve it as an optional garnish.

Trifle originally evolved as a way of using up leftovers.  If you want to know more about the history you can read it here.

There is nothing definitive about making trifle.  Just do as you please and enjoy!