The warmer weather has well and truly arrived and as usually happens, I find myself craving lighter meals such as these delightful Dill and Smoked Salmon Frittatas. The basic recipe for these was given to me by my friend Kara who makes them as finger food, baked in mini muffin tins and topped with a small piece of salmon and dot of sour cream. And if you’re looking for a yummy and easy finger food option, I heartily recommend making them that way. But seeing as this blog is all about easy hospitality, I tried making these a little less labour intensive and with a view to serving as a main. The recipe that follows is Kara’s basic frittata recipe, but with a slightly different methodology. Make these ahead of time and freeze for quick lunches at home or for 6 people coming over for lunch – simply thaw gently and warm a little in a low set oven. Serve with a side salad and some crusty bread. The good thing about these little babies is they are the perfect thing to serve those on a sugar free and carb free diet (minus the side of bread) and they’re also gluten free. Making 12 regular muffin sized frittatas or 48 mini muffin sized hors d oeuvres, this easy, do-the-whole-thing-in-the-food-processor recipe will cost around $13, though less if you purchase the herbs at a green-grocer rather than the supermarket, and the ricotta from the deli rather than the fridge section.
- 8 eggs
- 3 tablespoons dill
- 3 tablespoons chives
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
- 1 x 415g can smoked salmon, drained with the majority of skin and bone removed.
- In a food processor, put in dill and chives and process until finely chopped.
- Add ricotta, eggs and cream and process again.
- Exchange the chopping for the grating blade and grate half a cups worth of parmesan onto the top of the mixture. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Grease muffin trays well with spray oil and pour mixture in until 2/3 filled.
- Distribute salmon in chunks over the portions and top each with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 160 degrees for 20 mins if using mini muffin tins. If using regular sized muffin tins, bake at same temperature for 20 mins, plus a further 5 with the oven cranked up as far as it can go. This cooks the frittatas further and allows them the brown on top.
My friend Victoria posted a link to this delightful recipe during the week and I was genuinely intrigued by it – pikelets made using only eggs and bananas? I had to try them. This morning provided the perfect opportunity: waking up to an overcast, sleep in, pyjama type Saturday. The kids devoured these healthy, protein rich, gluten free and diary free pikelets that contain no added sugar or carbohydrate – definitely my kind of breakfast or snack. The consistency of these on eating is a little more spongy than a standard pikelet, but it certainly isn’t a deal-breaker. If you prefer something a little sweeter, simply add some icing sugar to serve. These little babies would also make an excellent dessert for sugar-phobes, simply drizzle with cream – though I must confess to eating mine like this for breakfast. Makes 24+ and costs no more than $2.
- 2 bananas, mashed a little with a fork
- 4 eggs
1. Put slightly mashed banana and eggs in a mixing jug. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture until completely smooth.
2. Pour small amounts (about the size of the lid of a jam jar) into a frypan set to medium/low. Use a small amount of canola spray before pouring. Cook each for a couple of minutes each side (though I do find the first side takes around 3 minutes and second takes less than one). Eat by themselves, with a dusting of icing sugar or with some runny cream.
My dear friend Kim contributed this terrific little recipe from taste.com AGES ago – but I only recently noticed it in the email@example.com inbox. This is a bonza recipe: the ingredients are ones you’re likely to find in your pantry and freezer and there’s no butter in it at all. If you’re avoiding sugar this recipe works well by simply exchanging sugar for dextrose exactly. If you don’t have raspberries in your freezer but do have tinned ones or berries of another kind, do feel free to exchange as needed. I made this using blueberries (see second photo) and it tasted lovely. This gorgeous little loaf will cost you no more than $4 to make. Enjoy!
- 1 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 2/3 cups self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons flour extra
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- icing sugar, to serve
- Combine coconut and coconut milk in a large bowl. Cover and stand for 30 minutes (or not – I have little patience for steps like these!).
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Line base and sides of a 7cm-deep, 10.5cm x 20.5cm (base) loaf pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.
- Toss frozen berries in extra flour (this will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf as it cooks). Using a metal spoon, stir sugar, egg and vanilla into coconut mixture. Sift flour over coconut mixture. Gently stir until combined. Fold in raspberries.
- Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar and slice. Serve toasted, if desired.
I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it really grabbed me – who wouldn’t want to try a recipe promising muffins that taste like cinnamon doughnuts? These muffins delivered on their promise in taste, were simple to make from basic pantry ingredients that are readily on-hand and cost no more than $1.50 to make. Make these quick and easy muffins for last minute friends dropping by or for a quick solution for empty lunch boxes at the end of a busy week. Like all muffins, these don’t have an especially long shelf life, but they are freezer friendly and if you’re eating them after a day or two, a quick zap for 10-20 seconds in the microwave brings back a fair bit of freshness and restores them to something more like a warm cinnamon doughnut. For those avoiding sugar, simply replace the caster sugar measure for measure with dextrose (available from the beer brewing section at K-Mart or Big W). If you’re not too heavy-handed with the mixture it will make 12 muffins. Enjoy!
- 1 3/4 cup plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (I use rice bran)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and distribute 12 paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tray.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix liquids in separate bowl or pyrex jug. Add liquids to dry ingredients and combine together well, without over beating. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins using two soup spoons (but don’t overload them). Bake for 15 mins though start checking at 10. When muffins spring back a little, they’re ready.
3. While muffins are baking prepare sugar topping: combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and melt butter in yet another bowl. As soon as muffins come out of the oven, dip each one into melted butter and roll into sugar & cinnamon mixture, or brush with butter and top with sugar mixture if muffins are too hot to handle.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be blogging about this cake! I’ve been fiddling about and am so happy with the flavour of this chocolate cake made on stevia instead of sugar. The cake that results is moist and chocolatey but isn’t at all rich. The whipped cream tops it off nicely, and although it looks dry when it comes out of the oven, it’s really not at all on the inside (the second picture shows it’s moist loveliness best). When covered in cream, this phenomenon isn’t noticed at all. This cake costs less than $5 to make and can be topped with berries of your choice for an even fancier (mostly) sugar free dessert (obviously berries have some sugar, but not much).
- 300 grams plain flour
- 100grams stevia (Natvia is my preferred brand for taste)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 200grams butter, cut into cubes and softened
- 50grams cocoa (Woollies homebrand has improved LOTS and is now quite useable)
- 200ml or ½ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 120ml or 1/2 cup milk
- 300ml cream, whipped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (170 degrees fan forced). Grease and line your choice of 25cm springform tin, 25cm square tin or 25cm ring tin.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, stevia, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Then, using the electric mixer on a low setting, add the cubed, softened butter. This will produce a rough crumb-like consistency.
4. In a wide-mouthed measuring cup, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, then slowly add this cocoa mixture to the ingredients in the bowl, beating until thoroughly combined. With motor running slowly, add milk which will make the batter take on a dropping consistency.
5. Pour the batter into tin and bake for 40 minutes. The cake will have risen and cracked a little on top. Don’t stress about this – although it looks dry, it’s actually quite moist on the inside. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then turn out to cool.
6. When cake has cooled completely, top with whipped cream and store in the fridge.
Above: Original Blueberry Muffins
Below: Sugar Free Blueberry Muffins
I have been using this Blueberry Muffin recipe by Nigella Lawson for years as my basic muffin recipe, morphing the flavours to suit what is desired – raspberry and white chocolate, chocolate chip and berry flavoured. Recently I’ve needed to modify it to be made on Stevia rather than sugar and it still works quite well. Below you’ll find the original recipe and the version of it I use when making them sugar free. Please don’t go to the shop to buy buttermilk, I’ve only ever used the yoghurt and milk replacement and it work fine. These are fast to make and will cost you no more than $3-4 depending on your choice of filling.
- 75g unsalted butter,
- 200g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75g caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 200ml buttermilk (or 100g yoghurt and 100ml milk)
- 1 large egg
- 200g blueberries (I often use less to reduce cost)
- 12 hole muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases
- Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool a little.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and in a measuring jug beat together the buttermilk (or yoghurt and milk), egg and melted butter.
- Using a wooden spoon and a light hand, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently to combine. Don’t worry about lumps, the important thing is the mixture isn’t over-worked.
- Fold in the blueberries, again keeping mixing to a minimum.
- Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be risen, golden and firm on top.
For sugar free blueberry muffins: increase flour to 300g and replace sugar for 40g granulated Stevia.
Having had some requests for some sugar free recipes, I thought I’d share this one. I make this modified banana bread (originally another Nigella recipe) in muffin sizes for my kids lunches all the time and the best part is I know that the only sugar in it comes from the bananas themselves. This recipe calls for stevia instead of sugar and you can buy it in a variety of granulated brands in the sugar aisle next to the artificial sweeteners. The exciting thing about stevia is that it’s totally natural so there’s no bad after taste and it’s also much sweeter than sugar so you really only need 1/4 of the amount you might normally use when baking with sugar.
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 50-75g stevia (add enough to suit your desire for ‘sweetness’)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and stevia and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-11/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.