Miss Muffin, The Emerging Foodie.

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Waffle Iron Cookies.

I often get asked if Miss Muffin is much of a foodie. My current answer is, she is getting there. She knows what she likes, will try new things and loves to talk about eating out. She is also developing some mean kitchen skills and can cook a dinner.

At the moment she is concentrating on becoming an expert pizza maker. We have told her we are happy to eat pizza once a week and for her to get to the place where she is happy about what to do and can cook it without worrying about a single step. To me, an important part of cooking is to get to that comfortable place with a dish. I don’t want her time in the kitchen to be a chore but a time she enjoys. The same applies to food in general. At the moment, she is also enjoying cooking for her school lunch.

Cheese scones are her current favourite lunch box filler. She makes enough at the start of the week to last for the five days. The recipe she uses contains oil, not butter and they are fresher longer. Five day old scones are not my idea of a nice lunch but she enjoys them. I think she also likes having something she made in her lunch box. Don’t get me wrong, Miss Muffin is not one of those children who will eat any thing; she has a flavour palate and knows what she likes.

Her favourite thing to eat out is mee goreng from Satay Kajang in Wellington. In the past year she has also become rather partial to ordering her own portion of Indian food. At the very least she is happy with plain rice if nothing else on a menu appeals. We don’t visit many everything with chips places, if we do she will generally choose something boring and enjoy the novelty of it.

We never set out to mould a little foodie but it seems to have happened along the way. Miss Muffin has always been part of food decisions and we have not changed our eating habits to suit having a child. I love that she has developed into an independent thinker on the topic of food and listening to her hold a conversation with other adults about eating out, cooking and the types of food she enjoys.

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Fab Friday- Miss Muffin strikes again

Miss muffin is getting so good at being a foodie that she needs her own tag.

She came home from school today with the urge to bake, may have been related to the fact she was grounded, lost TV and had no technology, still a time filler though. She was faced with the obstacle of no butter in the fridge. She went through her books and found a recipe for Swiss Roll.

Swiss roll is not technically the easiest thing to make and this recipe even required the double boiler method and using a whisk while this happened. I sat in the living room after a bad Friday and answered any questions she had, there weren’t many. I ably assisted in the flipping and advised on the rolling. She did extremely well.

Miss Muffin made her Dad’s favourite and did a brilliant job, she amazed me.


Wonderful Wednesday

One of the things my lovely little mummy taught me was how to cook. I don’t remember actual lesson but watching and soaking it all up. When I left home to go university I really realised how much I had learnt. When I became a mum myself I knew that teaching my child to cook was a valuable lesson. I haven’t given Miss Muffin lessons but I have encouraged afternoon tea to be in our kitchen/dining room and done prep for dinner as she eats. We have our best conversations at this time too. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to step right out the kitchen and leave her at 11 years old to do a meal by herself. This was a big thing for me but I did it, she has been producing lovely meals every Wednesday I am one of those annoying people who comes up with nicknames for things and people (hello Magic Lady and Gin). I decided that we would call this meal, Wonderful Wednesday. It was a good name to choose, we really are having wonderful Wednesdays. Miss Muffin decides by Monday night what we are having so I can get any ingredients when I shop on a Tuesday. She has so far got most of her recipes from her own kids cooking books and I hope to move her on from these as she gets more confident. I think Sophie Gray’s books will be the next step. Here are a few photos to show you my girl and her food- The first week we had Kung Fu Panda Meatballs from the Countdown website. They were good and I loved her presentation. Kung Fu Panda meatballs. The next week it was a Yellow Chicken Curry, was good too. Wonderfulwed2 And tonight we had Sausage and Pepper Stir Fry. wonderfulwed1 Can’t wait to see what the next Wonderful Wednesday brings. Well this Wednesday we had a Chicken Curry, fresh curry paste and everything. It was lovely and she was a star in the kitchen again. chickcurry

It is Wednesday again, how did this happen?

Tonight she made a meat lovers pizza from scratch and did really well. It was lovely and she did the base by hand, it tasted great. Another proud moment for me and Mr Muffin. Miss Muffin took the lovely artistic pizza photo too.


Miss Muffin has decided to recook all of these dishes and get confident over the next couple of weeks.

This week she did the meatballs again and apart from them all rolling on the floor ( 3 second rule), she did great.

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Anzac Biscuits- so easy and so special.


Anzac Day is Australasia day of remembrance. These biscuits were sent to the troops as they lasted. There are many recipes and I have baked many. I always come back to this recipe as it is what we like in an Anzac. It has a soft chewy inside and a good crunch on the outside.
The recipe is from New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and I do not do anything different.

Anzac biscuits- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: around 24
  • Print

1 cup flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 cups rolled oats
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp boiling water

Heat oven to 180C (160C fan bake). Line two baking trays with nonstick baking paper.

Place flour, caster sugar, coconut and oats in a bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.

Put butter and golden syrup in a saucepan to melt, or microwave in a bowl until melted

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water.

Add melted ingredients and dissolved baking soda to dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Roll spoonfuls into balls and press onto prepared baking trays, allowing space for biscuits to spread while cooking.

Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and enjoy!

Cooking tip: Stored in an airtight container, Anzac biscuits will last well for up to a week.

Come Dine With Me- the Muffin version

At the moment, Come Dine With Me is on at 7pm each weekday evening. I love it, as does Miss Muffin. She really enjoys watching adults misbehave and have things go wrong. She likes to correct their behavior and talk about their food. In the week I had a light bulb moment, why don’t we play that at home? I mentioned it to my family and the next thing we know, Miss M has shot off, with her cookbook and about an hour later appears with a 3 course menu and shopping list. From this we took the hint that she would like to go first, followed by me and then Mr Muffin. After some thought I came to the conclusion that us grown-ups need a handicap. Mine is, I have to cook from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries and Mr M has to not do a curry or anything with rice. That wipes out off of Mr M’s usual and means I have to get reading through the book Santa left me on Christmas Eve.
I will blog each ‘episode’ with a run down of the menu, the food and the entertainment.

Come Dine With Me-

Episode 1

* – Miss Muffin did have minimal help. This was her first experience cooking something she hadn’t seen me do. She was mainly helped with efficiency, things like measuring out spices before hand, pre-cooking the rice and the idea of doing the desert once we had eaten. I also cut the chicken.

She chose the recipes-

And enjoyed eating the food, we all did. The curry was seriously good, the starter was purely her idea and the pudding was to die for.

We were really impressed with the food, her determination and the thought put in. While we ate we pretended to be different people. Mr Muffin decided he was Tarquin Saskatch, a poet lumber jack, I was Charlotte who was very posh and owned everything and Miss was Milly, Santa’s daughter who trained dogs.
The meal really was a success and fun. I am now fretting about what to cook and must present my menu on Thursday.
If you would like any of the recipes, let me know in a comment or at my email (on header).

 Episode 2- my turn

I was given the handicap of having to cook from Nigel Slater’s, Kitchen Diaries. Santa kindly gave it to me on Christmas Eve to help pass the time until the big day. My other challenge was not being super competitive mummy and going all out to win. I am the accomplished cook in the house and so decided to go for a meal completely out of the families comfort zone.
My menu –
Zucchini, dill and feta cakes p227
Slow roast lamb with chickpea mash p62
Passion fruit roulade p389
I forgot to take photos of the starter but the cakes were rather good and I must admit, I did not make chutney. The dill for the cakes was from Kelburn, it grows on the road side which is rather handy. It may be the love child of dill and fennel, who cares? The lamb was on offer, yes, when you think of NZ you think of lamb. Well, most of it goes over seas and it is not cheap to buy.
As my entertainment we played consequences to decide upon our characters, I felt we had rather worn out last weeks post.

I served the meal as suggested in the book. We did enjoy it but were not overly impressed. It was something different and rather in the vain of flash restaurant food. Mr Muffin liked the roulade which surprised me as he is not a fan of cream.
I enjoyed the meal but will not be planning on winning. I was the person on the TV show who cooks the meal they have never tried before and would like to try but not everyone likes it. As I type Mr M is in the kitchen rolling Chinese green onion pancakes/bread. Tonight we will do our scoring and the winner gets to decide a meal out or a takeaway one evening.
Episode 3, Mr Muffins turn
Before I go any further, I must explain the pre-me man. When I met hubby and first opened his fridge and freezer I was a little shocked. The fridge contained coke, beer and some coke. The freezer contained chips and, wait for it, do a drum roll…….. microwave omelettes. Yes, they do exist and you did read right. He has come far and been well educated in the many years we have been together and can now cook. Just thought I would share the background so you can gauge the cooking skills he had pre-me. Anyway, back to the meal.

Mr M’s menu was not allowed to include rice, he cheekily substituted rice for noodles but we let him. His menu came from my new recipe book, Easy Chinese Recipes:Family favourites . It is a great basic book with fantastic ‘how to’ detail.
Green onion pancakes
Orange Chicken with noodles
Jamie Oliver’s trifle

The green onion pancakes were very lovely. There probably could have been a better way to cook them rather than in the wok. A flat pan with a little less oil would have worked better.
The orange chicken was lovely, the chicken in batter was very good. Was not convinced with the noodle match even though they were fresh from the market that morning.
The trifle was good but the custard didn’t set. We still managed to gobble our way through a good portion and fish the best bits out the next day. The trifle had an extra impressive surprise as you can see in the picture below.

The Scores on the doors.
So, after the eating we did the scoring. We each had to leave the room to be scored. The scores are in order of cooking.

Miss came first, then Mr and then little old me.
Miss Muffin chose a lunch at Tulsi Indian with her own Malai kofta,naan and juice. She loves the sauce, not the balls, I have to eat them.
This was a really fun thing to do and I would recommend it to anyone. We enjoyed the anticipation as well as the meals.


Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes and Miss Muffin made them

I really like these cupcakes. They remind me of the ones I am more familiar with from my childhood. The ones I am thinking about came with a thick sticky and often flavoured icing and were a real treat from the supermarket in a box of 6.  We iced these with just an icing sugar and hot water mix, oh, and green food colouring. I am not fond of butter icing.
Miss Muffin made these and was very proud. She needed minimal assistance and reassurance from me.
I really like this cookbook and would recommend that you need it.
The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook p14
For the cake-
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).
Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.