Raspberry and Milled Linseed Muffins

Despite the fact that Himself hates a recipe with a preamble, this requires one.

I love linseed sprinkled on my porridge in the morning. Both Dunnes and Lidl do very nice linseed (aka flaxseed) crunch which usually includes some other tasty morsels like dried cranberries or tiny dried apple crumbs or I don’t know, whatever.

Often, on a Monday evening after his running class, Himself will do a supplementary messages (aka groceries anywhere but here) run to Lidl. He very kindly remembered to pick up a pack of linseed as we were out. He’s a fan as well.

Unfortunately, when he got home he realised it was milled linseed and not linseed crunch: a different beast altogether. Before I could save it to be returned someone had actually opened it.

If it were merely a nutritional thing, we could just lash it in the porridge and enjoy the cranberry flavour but for me it’s all about the texture so it wouldn’t do. However, now I had this open pack of milled linseed needing something done with it.

Raspberries in neat diagonal rows on a pink background. Stock photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

75g butter
50g milled linseed or flaxseed, any flavour
150g plain flour
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda (aka bread soda)
2 tsp baking powder
200ml buttermilk or 100ml each of natural yoghurt and milk
1 large egg
200g fresh or frozen raspberries

12 hole muffin tray
12 muffin cases

Melt butter in the microwave carefully and leave to cool.
Preheat oven to 200deg Celsius.
Line muffin tin with cases.
Mix dry ingredients.
Toss raspberries in dry ingredients (doing this in any fruity cake will stop the fruit from sinking apparently.)
Mix buttermilk and egg and then stir in the melted butter.
Mix wet ingredients into dry until just mixed. Don’t overwork it as this will make muffins bready instead of light.
Spoon evenly into cases.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool and eat right away or wait if you can.

A sweetener to raise funds for the Philippines

Wellington Squares

Wellington Squares
Chocolate Caramel Sqaures with a coconut shortbread base

The nippers’ school are holding a cake sale in aid of disaster relief for the Philippines tomorrow. I’m sure this is a scene that will be repeated across the land tomrrow! This gives me an opportunity to make cakes and also eat them with a good conscience. I’m looking forward to doling out my hard earned cash on lots of goodies tomorrow morning. No doubt many other schools are doing similar. I made what we, in the Murphy Smith family, call Wellington Squares. Don’t ask me why. These are a speciality of my youngest uncle but I found a most amazing recipe online years ago and have been using this ever since. I can no longer find it online so I am going to share it here with you but on a condition.

I got an email from a friend during the week who is very proud of her niece who, completely unprompted, decided that she wanted to raise funds for the victims of the tornado in the Philippines. Off her own bat she investigated which charity she would like to send her funds to and chose the Red Cross. So she plans to do a 10km sponsored walk. Now she is a couple of months younger than Nipper 1.0 and I know he would find 5km challenging, never mind 10, so I’m very impressed.

What does this all have to do with my recipe you might wonder? Well what I would like you to do is this: if you think you might ever use this recipe, please sponsor my friend’s niece in her sponsored walk. Not only will you help the disaster stricken folk in the Philippines, you will make an aunty very proud and a young girl very chuffed! You will also be able, like I, to eat these calorie laden delights with a clearer conscience.

Wellington Squares
(Makes 32 squares of a smallish but perfect nature)
125g butter
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
90g dessicated coconut
115g caster sugar

100g butter
100g brown sugar
397g tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

200g dark chocolate or 100g each dark and milk chocolate
I usually make this the night before I need it as the base and filling must be cooled before adding the chocolate topping which must also be allowed to set.

Preheat the oven to 180degC/ Gas mark 4 and grease and line a 18 x 28 cm tin. I usually make this in a small roasting tin but I have also made them in a square brownie tin – they just end up deeper.
Melt the butter (I usually pop it in a pyrex bowl in the microwave for 30 second blasts)
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add coconut, sugar and melted butter and mix well together.
Press into your prepared tin and pop it in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until a very light golden colour.
Take it out of the oven but leave the oven on for now.

Put butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk in a thick bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring all the time, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. It will turn a light golden colour. No matter how very, very tempted you are do NOT taste this. You will burn the tongue off yourself!
Pour this over the cooked base and then return the lot to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. It will deepen in colour and bubble.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled start prepping the chocolate topping. Melt whichever chocolate you have chosen in a heat resistant bowl over a pot of boiling water. Spread over the filling and allow to cool before placing in the fridge to set.
I usually remove the whole slab from the pan and cut into squares. You can cut them really quite small as this is a very rich little treat.

Hot in her (apple) leather


I first read about apple leather on the Fox’s Lane blog a while ago (Northern vs Southern Hemisphere) and I just thought I have to try that. We have a very fruity apple tree but the apples get a bit spotty and aren’t all that appealing. Once peeled they are grand and we larrup them into crumbles with blackberries from the bottom-of-the-garden wilderness. We slosh them stewed onto delicious Irish pork chops and joints. We stir them semi-stewed into yoghurt. The apple leather has proven to be another hit and if I had an Aga or Stanley range I would make fruit leather 2 weekly. Apparently you can make it with any fruit that stews or purées to a thick consistency. As things stand it’s a bit of an indulgence that takes up the oven for a large chunk of time. The resulting leather is perfect for lunchboxes in a school where no sugar is allowed.

What you need:

  • Apples – the sweeter the better, it’ll save having to add honey or sugar
  • A large tray
  • Silicone baking paper (I’ve bought this in Lidl)
  • A day/ evening in
  1. Preheat oven to 75C/ 170F
  2. Line a large oven tray with your silicone paper. One recipe I read suggested using cling film as the oven doesn’t get that hot but I baulked at that idea. If you have a silicone mat now is it’s time to shine!
  3. Stew your apples with a few tablespoons of water or juice of a lemon
  4. Sugar or honey can be added to taste at this point. You could also add a spoonful of cinnamon
  5. Either transfer cooled apples to your blender or use your handheld blender to get a really smooth sauce.
  6. Spread the apple sauce as evenly as possible over the tray trying to avoid thinning edges as these will dehydrate too fast.
  7. Stick it in the oven for 6 – 8 hours. I switched mine off and went to bed and took it out the next day while we used the grill so it’s not a fussy process. You are drying it out, not baking it.
  8. When it is done it will no longer dent if you stick your finger in the middle.
  9. Peel silicone paper off and, using a scissors or sharp, cut into strips or any agape you like.
  10. Enjoy!

The Porridge that keeps on giving

Once Upon a time this was Porridge

Ah Pinterest – don’t you just love it? I was all set to uneasily send the leftover portion of porridge to the bin on Sunday when it occurred to me that surely someone in the world must have come up with a better solution than industrial composting for all this yummy leftover porridge. And lo! Pinterest had the answer which I share with you now from Soule Mama – muchos gracias!

Once Upon a time this was Porridge
Once Upon a time this was Porridge

Left over Porridge Muffins

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal, 
  • 1 egg, 
  • 1 TBSP melted butter, 
  • 1/2 cup milk, 
  • 4 TBSP honey/sugar/maple syrup, 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, 
  • 1.5 cups flour, 
  • plus 1/2 cup ‘extra somethings’ – raisins, chocoloate chips, berries, etc. 

Bake at 400F/ 200C  for 20 minutes.

The resulting muffins were more scone-like than muffin like I felt. I tried to take care not to overstir, the biggest danger in muffin making, as it lengthens the gluten molecules, making the muffin more breadlike. A not unpleasant bun so, with a wholesome look. I’ve popped them into the freezer and will extract as required for school lunches on our particularly long Thursdays. It is possible also that my fairy cake sized cake pans were a little small for these cakes but I’m Irish – I make fairy cakes, not cupcakes and not muffins. The addition of some cinnamon, mixed spice or grated apple/ apple streusel might do this recipe no harm.

Note this is also an opportunity to show off my new red cake stand which I picked up in Stock, the most fabulouse but ludditesque shop in Dublin. I recently asked them to order oven gloves for me from Ulster Weavers, in a particular shade of red (sensing a pattern here?). They took my details down in a notebook with a pen. In a PAPER NOTEBOOK. With A PEN FILLED WITH INK. I’m pretty sure they still don’t have a website. Their rivals around the corner are well wise to this fact and appear third in the SERP for Stock Dublin. I just want to call in and lecture them. Okay I admit I have lectured them, gently, a few years ago now.

Short post on Shortbread

I’ve never had much luck with shortbread so when I overheard one of the bloggers on Saturday talking about making shortbread for her father on Father’s Day, my ears pricked up.

Joanna of Smorgasblog shared her shortbread recipe with me on Twitter yesterday and I rustled up a batch while making the dinner and putting the nippers to bed. Yes it IS that easy.

The result: AMAZEBALLS. Go and make some right now. Recipe here.

Oh my WOW! This tastes even better than it looks! Thanks @JoannaSchaff  http://t.co/TIh3mYd6