Playing around with Courgette… or Zucchini

I am simply in love with courgettes. They are by far my favourite vegetable…. I could eat them all day every day. Can you eat them raw? I’m going to go try….

SO TASTY!

A healthy substitute for pasta (no bloating yay!), Mediterranean roasted veg, fresh summer salad; I throw them in everything these days, even cupcakes. So today is centred around courgette cupcakes. I did a little research, mainly on other blogs and pinterest, as I didn’t trust any old recipe. I love looking at other bloggers’ pictures and reading their own suggestions. I love picking out particular flavours and creating different depths and textures.

Lime, lemon, cheese and other ingredients such as carrot, apple and nuts, all stood out to me.

I had to be careful what I added (baking for my boyfriend is always a little special – working my way around the Fodmap diet!) so although I made mine relatively plain, you can tweek your flavours to taste.

Expect more of these soon 🙂

Courgette Cupcakes (makes around 18)

200g light muscovado sugar

180ml rapeseed oil (or any other flavourless oil)

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

250g grated courgette

Optional:

Zest of lime
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
60g chopped walnuts, almonds, sultanas

For the frosting:

300g half-fat cream cheese

50g icing sugar

The juice of 2 limes

(I used my vanilla frosting from my Cappuccino Cake recipe – I couldn’t m=find any dairy free cream cheese in time!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line your muffin tin with cases
  2. Mix together the sugar and eggs, following with the oil and vanilla essence, until combined
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and any spices you desire. Mix until just combined (you don’t want to overwork as you will end up with really dense muffins)
  4. Stir in your grated courgettes and any nuts/fruit desired
  5. Divide mixture between cases and bake for around 20 minutes, until the tops spring back
  6. For the frosting, mix all of the ingredients together until light and fluffy (adding as much lime juice needed to wet the mixture) and spread or pipe (if you’re fancy!) onto your cakes
  7. Sit back and enjoy – and don’t feel too guilty – these aren’t too unhealthy!

  

                

Chocolate Egg Nests

Just a quick one today!

I made these earlier as I fancied something super quick, super easy and super classic. These are an all time winner and favourite – and great to share out with a cup of tea in the morning.

Oh and they use up the never ending box of cornflakes which seem to take forever to eat up!

Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Egg Nests

225g milk chocolate

2 tbsp golden syrup

50g butter

75g cornflakes

Mini eggs

  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup on a low heat
  2. Once melted remove from the heat and stir in the cornflakes
  3. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and decorate with mini eggs
  4. Place in the fridge to cool and set… and enjoy!

Strawberry Swirl Cupcakes

If you’re looking for something to brighten up your day, these are the perfect things to do just that. They made me feel a little sad that it’s so cold and dark outside, and not at all near summer… but spring will be here soon (let’s hope and pray!) so I felt the need to bake something fruity and light.

You can substitute the strawberries for raspberries… or any fruit really and just use a jam or filling that compliments well. To be honest these are so easy to bake and are a favourite with everyone! I’m a bit obsessed with fillings at the moment and the jam really adds to the fluffy vanilla sponge, not to mention the creamy buttercream to finish.

They are moreish and you really won’t settle for just one cupcake with your cuppa.

So give them a try… enjoy!

Ps. I took these photos with my new FujiFilm Compact Digital camera and I loved every second of it – I loooove the zooooooom and the focus is brilliant – you can really see the difference in quality!

Strawberry Swirl Cupcakes

125g margarine

125g caster sugar

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

Box of strawberries

Buttercream

125g unsalted butter

300g icing sugar

Drop of milk

2 tbsp jam (strawberry or raspberry)

12 tsp vanilla essence

Drop of pink or red food colouring

Handful of strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together
  3. Add the eggs and then fold in the flour and baking powder
  4. Add the milk and vanilla essence
  5. Then finally add the chopped strawberries
  6. Add the mixture to cupcake cases and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  7. Remove and allow to cool completely
  8. Cream the butter and sugar together adding milk accordingly
  9. Stir in the jam and vanilla essence
  10. Now add the pink or red food colouring to enhance colouring
  11. Decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream and add strawberries to finish

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Birthday Cupcakes!

My challenge today was to make my Mom a birthday cake, with no or little fat in it. This is harder than you think! The reason for this is because my Auntie Jen has come to stay, and at the moment she can’t have any fat in her diet. She has gall stones and eating food with a high fat content causes her to have a really bad tummy ache. From what I understand (and this is extremely limited) the gall bladder absorbs the fat in the body, and when it’s not working properly you can get gall stones i.e. balls of fat. It doesn’t always cause pain, but in my Auntie’s case, she actually has a ‘leaking’ gall bladder, so is on a strict diet until surgery.

So…. Trying to bake a yummy cake for my Mom with little fat in has been quite a challenge!

I decided to make two different types of cakes, chocolate and vanilla, one with a little butter in it, the other with none. Cupcakes became the ideal solution: a small amount of pleasure, they kinda look pretty, and are so fun to decorate!

I found two recipes and here’s what I came up with:

Chocolate Cupcakes

175g plain flour

100g caster sugar

30g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

80ml water

125ml orange juice

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla essence

60g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre
  4. Combine the water, orange juice, oil, vinegar and vanilla essence. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until moist
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips
  6. Spoon mixture into cupcake case and bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely before icing

For the Icing:

250g icing sugar

60g unsalted butter

25g cocoa powder

25ml milk

Few squares of chocolate

  1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together
  2. Add the milk and then add the melted few squares of chocolate

Vanilla Yogurt Cupcakes

125g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

100g caster sugar

1 egg

3 tbsp unsalted butter

120ml yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine
  5. Add in half the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated
  6. Add in all the yogurt, mix to combine, and mix in the rest of the flour mixture
  7. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before icing

For the icing:

250g icing sugar

60g unsalted butter

25ml milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together
  2. Add the milk and vanilla essence and mix

And here are the pictures: they went down a treat with a nice cup of yorkshire tea!

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