Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I love autumn mornings; especially at dawn when it’s foggy and quiet with daylight just filtering in.
It feels familiar, like the cold dry harmattan mornings from my childhood.

This is also my favourite time to bake, the world is perfect in that still solitary moment when I get to do what I absolutely love.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

I rarely plan ahead for breakfast, I reckon a lot of people don’t, not in the way we plan dinner.
For breakfast, I usually go with whatever I can whip up quickly, dry cereal and nut milk most of the time, or coffee and pastries when running errands or traveling.

But on those special weekend mornings, I do plan ahead for breakfast.

I take a few days and decide what to make, sifting through cookbooks and collected recipes for that perfect something… a cake perhaps or waffles, socca or these delightful orange poppy seed muffins.

I knew I’d love these muffins for a lazy weekend breakfast, they are those kind of muffins… the kind that doesn’t require a lot of effort, smell heavenly while they bake and taste divine.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

They’re subtly tangy from an infusion of orange juice and zest, moist from mashed bananas and flecked with toasted poppy seeds for added crunch and texture, with hints of warming spices.

It’s the kind of muffin that makes breakfast special, I love it when the house awakens to the smell of these muffins baking.

They’re a treat with freshly brewed coffee… homemade lattes are the best!

And on those lazy, lazy Saturdays of rain and gloom… I curl up under the covers and read a good magazine from cover to cover and while away the morning.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie Blueberry Pie

We’re in that sultry phase of summer where the days seem slightly magical and you wish you could freeze all those idyllic moments before it all slips away.

My friend M. spends her evenings on the beach mostly chasing after her little guy to reapply his sunscreen; she says she’s trying to create many great memories to look back on when we’re in the depths of winter.

In a way, that is what I’m doing too; dining al fresco, those mesmerizing fiery sunsets, the windy long road trips, and scenic ferry rides to uncover secluded lakes and rocky beaches – I’ll be looking back on fondly in a few months.

And the fruits of summer… can we talk about the abundance of fruit?
Our markets are bursting with colour with the juiciest and sweetest fruits and vegetables of the season.

Blueberry Pie

We never seem to run out of cherries, peaches, nectarine, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, we have so much blueberries… and we’ll be getting more in the next few days.

We’re always snacking on blueberries, and tossing them into cereals and salads and smoothies, but we really love them in pies; they’re the easiest and tastiest way to use up those bountiful berries.

Blueberry Pie

The recipe for this blueberry is rather modest, with a few ingredients to help the blueberries stand out; like tart lemons to draw out the sweet flavours of the blueberries and fragrant cardamom for warmth.

The crust is one I use often, made with solid coconut oil; it’s foolproof, delicate, buttery and bakes beautifully.

It’s the sort of pie you can easily make all summer long, and I do, it’s one of our favourite summertime desserts.

Blueberry Pie

A luscious slice of blueberry pie with a scoop of your favourite ice cream is just the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

Blueberries are yummy, and good for you – and that’s reason to eat more blueberries.

We’ll freeze some too, and in the cold bleak months we’ll make blueberry pie and think on the glorious summer that has passed.

Blueberry Pie Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Long before the cookie butter craze, there were speculoos, the crunchy caramelized spiced cookies which is the main ingredient the cookie butter.

Speculoos are special in themselves, my local London Drugs used to carry the Belgian ones around Christmas time; crispy and thin with punchy flavours, they are so good with tea.

A while back, I discovered a package of speculoos lost underneath my stash of nuts, broken in pieces, looking forlorn and perfect for these muffins.

IMG_0060 Speculoos Cookie Muffins
Speculoos Cookie Muffins Speculoos Cookie Muffins

I can’t recall where I found this recipe, I really wish I could, because it takes the humble speculoos to new heights, I guess it’s similar to the cookie spread in that way

One idle grey morning, we watched the rain pour down the windows, and made these muffins, then we made coffee, sat down and relished the wonderful aroma of the muffins baking.

We ate them warm, right out of the oven with coffee and good company.

These speculoos cookie muffins aren’t the healthiest, but they have a delicious specialness and comfort that makes them perfectly suited for cold rainy days.

I really like how they turned out – wonderfully spiced, moist and cakey with a delightful crunchy streusel topping.

Speculoos Cookie Muffins
Speculoos Cookie Muffins by Elsa Brobbey

Speculoos Cookie Muffins

Almond Chickpea Flour Cookies

Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies

I really like these cookies! I think about them sometimes in the most inopportune times – like while walking through the fog this morning.

We were awoken by foghorns today; it went off persistently every few minutes until it forced me out of bed, and as the sun shone through the fog on my way to work I figured we were in for the most perfect of winter days; sunny, bright with crisp chilly air and brilliant blue skies.

I thought of how much I’d love to have a winter picnic… perhaps of hot cocoa and cookies, and how ideal these almond chickpea flour cookies would be.

Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies Almond and Chickpea Flour Cookies by Elsa Brobbey

This is probably the first cookie recipe I ever pinned, yet I only started making them quite recently, and I’ve made them several times since.

It’s delicate and crunchy, the kind of cookie you would crumble over ice cream – if you were into that sort of thing.

I like these cookies a lot!

The first time I made them was an experiment of sorts; I substituted fine-ground white cornmeal for semolina because that was what I had around at the moment, it worked so perfectly I haven’t yet used semolina like the original recipe called for.


They are a lot like these almond butter cookies, another favourite… both are almond based, gluten free and of course vegan – these however are a little airier with a subtle fragrance of cardamom.

Chickpea flour also adds sweet nuttiness and a good boost of protein, which isn’t typical of cookies.

The cookies in the photos are from a month ago when we were in the throes of the holiday season, I was eager to use my new Christmas present, a cookie press. It was a trying endeavour… some shapes more so than others but they turned out well (I think).

I feel I should caution against the temptation to taste the dough before it’s baked as raw chickpeas tastes not too pleasant.

Something wonderful happens when they’re baked though, and you can’t really tell that these cookies have chickpeas in them.

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Gold Kiwi Custard Tart

Gold Kiwi Custard Tart

It’s summer.
Outside, I spy grey clouds hanging over the mountains, and there’s a certain chill in the air reminiscent of an April day.
It’s officially summer, and with that thought comes a slight panic; I have a 101 things planned for the season… it’s here and so far the weather isn’t very summerlike.

I have a list of sorts; of ordinarily splendid things I want to do in the next few months… from catching 5AM sunrises to hosting a special houseguest.

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I’m hoping we’ll get a shipment kiwis (and apples) this summer from New Zealand soon; it’s become a part of our summer now, and just like the fireworks in July, our summers wouldn’t feel quite the same without it.

The pies, cakes and tarts and other pastries we make from our bounty of fruits keep us going, in a sweet sunny haze all season long…

I tried this gold kiwi custard tart on a late summer afternoon last year when our box of kiwis arrived, it seemed like the perfect way to use up my remaining custard powder before it expired.

Golden kiwis tend to be bigger and sweeter than the green variety, it’s more fragrant and has a softer pulp. The kiwifruit is rich in vitamins C, K, and E and antioxidants.


I loved this tart so much I wanted to have it everyday for dessert all summer long.

It’s pretty easy and simple (I love simple foods!), yet the taste was luscious and decadent, and it looks like I spent quite a bit of time making it.

Using my patented (not really!) coconut oil crust and the traditional egg-free Bird’s Custard Powder the result is a sweet cookie-like crust with rich and creamy custard filling topped with the fresh fruit.

Yes, summer is here. It may not feel like it right now, but I’m dreaming of all the juicy and sweet ‘summer fruits’ that’ll soon become scrumptious, simple yet elegant desserts to take down to the beach or for a sunny picnic in the park.



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