Category Archives: Freezer Friendly

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Red Onion, Cheddar and Bacon Muffins

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Although I hear that some people don’t like bacon, to me, it’s a food group all of its own, along with Diet Coke and good coffee. What follows is another delightful recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the third and final in this series for summer hospitality and easy back to school non-sandwich lunches. These cheesy, bacony, and very pretty muffins are fluffy and so eatable. The recipe below produces 12 and costs less than $6 to make.

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 100g streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 red onion, finely diced (I used a regular brown one)
  • 250g wholemeal self-raising flour (I used plain white flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 200ml buttermilk (replace with yoghurt, sour cream or ordinary milk if need be)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional, I like chives so put in 3 tablespoons)
  • 150g strong cheddar, grated
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Warm the oil over a medium heat and fry the bacon in it until just crisp. Lift the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. In the same fat, sauté the onion until just softened, about five minutes, then set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  4. In a jug, whisk the eggs, butter and buttermilk, stir them into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined, then fold in the cooled bacon, onion, chives, if using, and two-thirds of the cheese until just evenly distributed.
  5. Spoon or scoop the mixture into the muffin tins, sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and bake for about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Carrot, Spinach, Cumin (and Fetta) Muffins

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Having more of a savoury than a sweet tooth, I’ve long enjoyed a good savoury muffin. Aside from the wide variety of possibilities when it comes to flavour, they are a terrific option any time of year – another alternative to sandwiches for kids heading back to school, or a yummy accompaniment to a BBQ dinner or a bowl of soup (with a bit of real butter on the side too). They can also be a just meal of their own. Savoury muffins are healthy, tasty, filling, very forgiving when you have to fudge the quantities, inexpensive, and best of all, freezer friendly. I love how easy it is to grab one of these from the freezer, and place once more in a warm oven for 5 minutes – bringing them pretty much back to newly baked awesomeness. Julie Morrow has contributed a couple of wonderful recipes that you’re sure to enjoy, each first published by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian Australia. She suggests, and I wholeheartedly agree, adding 100g of fetta to the top of each muffin, and my hot tip for this (discovered by my thrifty husband Steve) is the Coles brand of Marinated Danish Fetta – pictured above. It’s EXACTLY the same as the South Cape variety (even the jar is the same), but costs $5.40 per jar, as opposed to almost $12). First up from Julie are these fluffy, moist, flavoursome and vegetarian friendly babies. This recipe makes 12 and costs less than $5.

  • 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 10g for frying
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 150g spinach, tough stalks removed and very finely shredded (I used baby spinach salad greens)
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 275g whole milk yoghurt (but sour cream, diet yoghurt or regular cream will do)
  • 150g carrots, grated
  • 100g fetta cheese
  • 40g pumpkin seeds, toasted (optional, I used sesame instead)
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Warm the 10g of butter in a large frying pan and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, stir for a minute, then add the spinach and stir until wilted and soft. Cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  5. In a jug, whisk the melted butter, eggs and yoghurt. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour and stir with a spatula until just combined.
  6. Fold in the cooled onions and spinach, the carrots and seeds.
  7. Spoon into the cases crumble the fetta evenly atop each portion.
  8. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Bolognese Pasta Lunch Muffins (or a low-bar, guilt free alternative to sandwiches for bored kids and parents)

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Bolognese Lunch Muffins

Unless you’ve been living under rock, you’d know that the last week (at least in Australia) has been all about back to school. And for some precious little ones its meant heading to school for the first time. I’m not generally a sentimental kind of person but there’s something about it all that makes my heart stop and pause as the page of life turns. All this, as well as the good holiday break, somehow gives me at least a small spurt of energy for school lunches at the beginning of the year. Now generally, all those posts in the blogosphere about how to make school lunches organic, healthy, fun, dinosaur shaped and immaculately presented for our little idols, I mean, children – send me into a tailspin. And I’m glad to have mostly avoided them this back to school season. But level-headed suggestions from level-headed friends are always welcome and this recipe brings together two that recently came my way: one friend mentioned she feeds her kids pasta for lunch because it’s more filling than sandwiches and much easier to prepare in batches. Another suggested this recipe she found in Fresh Magazine at Woolworth’s. These pasta ‘muffins’ were painless to make, froze and thawed out well (so you can get a good fortnights worth done at once) and cost around the same price to make than the same number needed of ham and cheese sangas, approximately $5 for 24. I’m sure when the kids are tired of these we’ll head back to sandwich land, but these yummy numbers (adapted a little – I left out all the veggies) are a welcome option around here.

  • 500g macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 large 700g jar home brand passata
  • 1 cup grated carrot (optional)
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (optional)
  • 2 eggs lightly whisked
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with paper cases.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the cheese in a bowl, and divide mixture evenly among muffin holes. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Top each muffin of pasta with grated cheese, using it all up.
  4. Bake in oven for 15 mins or until cheese has melted. Allow to cool before freezing them ready for school each day.

Homestyle Apple Slice

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In the town I live there’s a terrific little fresh fruit and veggie shop that sources second quality, locally grown produce and I love it for many reasons: first, it’s cheap (if you shop there you can feed a family of four their fruit and veg for a week for around $10) and second, for the most part, the money you pay for the produce stays local. As a mum of two constantly hungry, growing kids, I’m so grateful for their everyday price of $1.50 per kg for red and green apples – this alone is worth the second trip to another store when doing the shopping! So when I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook a few months ago, the thought of making it didn’t make me panic at the price. It was such a simple slice to make, the result being a warm, fudgey, heart-warming offering – versatile enough to be morning or afternoon tea, or an easy dessert when served with cream or ice-cream. Using apples from Woolworth’s at $6/kg this recipe costs around $8 to make, though it works fine replacing the fresh apples with tinned ones too, making the cost $7. The quantities below fill a large roasting dish and yields 30-40 pieces of slice or enough dessert for a crowd of 30.

  • 4 cups self raising flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and diced (I use the slinky apple machine) or 1.5 tins pie apple
  • 250g butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tabs sugar extra
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a large roasting dish with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, toss apples with self raising flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop or in a small bowl in the microwave, and allow to cool a little. Stir in egg.

4. Pour butter and egg into the apple mixture and mix until combined.

5. Spoon into baking dish and evenly sprinkle extra sugar and cinnamon on top.

6. Bake at 180c for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If it goes brown very quickly, cover with foil and return to oven for remainder of the cook time. Eat while still warm with a scoop of icecream for dessert or store for snacking on with a cup of tea or coffee.

Big Batch Triple Chocolate Muffins

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Sometimes you just need recipe for a big batch of something sweet – church morning teas, a terms worth of kids’ little lunches in the freezer or munchies for a group weekend away. These fudgey muffins hit the spot in many ways are super easy to make. You’ll notice this recipe deliberately calls for home brand choc-chips – this is because they are much smaller than the more expensive ones and go much further through the batter. Which results in much more chocolatey muffins overall – and they just happen to be the cheapest option! Using the quantities below, this recipe makes 70+ muffins and costs $17 to make, which is under 25c per muffin. Enjoy!

  • 7 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa
  • 2 cups brown sugar 
  • 3 x 250g packets home brand dark choc chips
  • 1 x 375g packets white choc melts
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs 
  • 3 cups milk 
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (170 degrees if fan-forced) and distribute muffin cases among two 12 hole muffin trays.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or a large, plastic all-purpose basin.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vegetable oil and milk with a whisk and pour into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, but don’t over-mix – everything should be only just combined.
  5. Use two dessert spoons to half fill each muffin hole and place trays in oven for 20 minutes – although if you, like I do, prefer them a bit uncooked in the middle, start checking earlier.

Winter Pea Soup

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My friend Julie sent in this tasty soup recipe and having tried it out last weekend, I’m super keen to share it with you. Here are four reasons to love this bright green broth: there’s very little preparation at all – just a few quick steps with readily kept ingredients thrown in, followed by simmering; the recipe requires only one pot, which means very little washing up; it’s cheap, cheap, cheap to make (only approximately $3); and perfect for warming comfort during these lovely cooler months. Serves 6-8 people. Thanks for sharing this, Julie. 

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 kg frozen peas
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock (I used powdered and chicken stock as substitute)
  • 150ml cream
  1. In a large, 3L+ pot, gently fry onion and garlic in a little oil. 
  2. Add peeled potatoes, chopped into chunks, peas and stock. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are soft. 
  3. Blitz with hand blender until smooth then add cream. Season well with salt and pepper and serve with bread.

Donna Hay’s Instant Chicken Satay

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As I was thinking about what to write about this wonderfully fast and tasty dish, I realised again just how many times I’ve sat at the bench in my friend Amy’s kitchen as she’s recommended recipes to me. Though she’s moved houses since we first met, the scenario hasn’t changed much over the ten years we’ve known each other: Amy makes cups of tea for us both, she cooks whatever she needs to cook (and she’s a good deal better at it than me), we chat, sip tea, and she tells me about all the great recipes she’s tried out lately. Probably a good number of the recipes on this blog have come from her and over the years I’ve learnt lots about simple, yummy eating from Amy. In the beginning, I’d write her recommendations down on scrap paper (many of which I still have) but these days I just take a photo of her recipes on my phone and then come home and try them out. Now that my son is learning piano from Amy’s wonderful husband, once a week while he’s having his lesson, I get to once again sit at her bench and learn new things, which is exactly what happened a fortnight ago when she suggested this truly yummy, simple and affordable Donna Hay number. And although I’ve already added a slow-cooker satay recipe here, sometimes you just need a tasty stir-fry recipe of the instant variety. This one is freezer friendly and good to give away, though of course, check for peanut allergies before doing so or inviting folk over. A double portion of the recipe below fills a large wok almost to the brim, though following those listed below serves 8 with rice, and costs around $12. 

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (my addition, not Donna’s) 
  • 4 chicken breast fillets / 6 chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 long red chillies, thinly sliced (I use the gourmet garden one in a tube) 
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream 
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce 
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (I use powdered, reconstituted in water)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 200g fresh snow peas
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned (my addition, not Donna’s) 
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh coriander leaves (optional, no big deal if you don’t have them)
  1. In a small bowl combine coconut cream, peanut butter, soy sauce, stock, fish sauce and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Heat a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the oil, onion, chicken and chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. 
  3. Add the snow peas and carrots and cook for 1 minute. Add the combined peanut butter and liquids and cook for a further minute or until slightly thickened. Stir through the coriander and serve on steamed rice.