Australia · lizards · Mount Warning · Muffins · native Australian birds · spring · Tweed Valley

Some garden visitors, and an afternoon spent baking

Usually I have a few kookaburras visiting the garden first thing in the morning. After I give them a little bit of mincemeat, off they go, and although I see them around the yard they don’t usually return until the next day looking for food. Around lunchtime today though, when I walked into the kitchen, there was a lone kookaburra, clearly waiting for a morsel. Of course I obliged, he probably missed out this morning – right?

After lunch I decided to bake a batch of muffins – pumpkin and blueberry – which sounds like a strange combination but they are very tasty. I don’t have a sweet-tooth, so they suit me perfectly. Husband wasn’t so keen. I had suspected he might not be fussed, so I also made his favourite lemon loaf, which I’ve probably made a hundred times over the years. I needed a fresh lemon, so while the muffins were baking, the dogs and I went for a walk down the back to the orchard. And this is how the valley looked during the afternoon, beautiful, clear and sunny. It was a very fine day today.

I heard kookaburras laughing nearby, so looked around and found two sitting together in one of the tall gum trees. I often hear them down there during the day, and also around sunset when they always have a good ole laugh!

This last photo might be a bit unexpected – it’s a blue-tongue lizard. They are completely harmless – unless they feel threatened, of course – so he or she is very welcome in my garden. They eat snails and other insects, and so long as it gets on well with my family of green tree frogs who live in the front garden, it can stay as long as it likes. I’m not sure why it decided to visit my front veranda, but it was an opportunity to get a good photo. I knew something was in my garden near the door because I often heard it rustling about. At least now I know it’s not a snake! 🙂

cooking · herbs · Muffins · recipe

Sweet Potato & Herb Muffins

On the first day of the school holidays, my 12 year old son was so happy! With school finally over for the year, summer here and Christmas just around the corner, my boy, like many other school aged children, has a lot to be thankful for!! 🙂

My boy has his priorities right too. First day of the holidays had him inviting his best mate since kindergarten over to our place for a sleep-over.

These two boys have been partners-in-crime for years! With their heads together, they concocted their plans for the next 2 days, which included, on day one, swimming and alternating between playing cricket in the back garden and watching it on television. Later that afternoon and with wallets filled with their combined pocket money, they took themselves up to our local service station, returning half an hour later with all the supplies they would need for their planned day of fishing the following day.

When lunch time arrived on day one, both boys were looking for something light but substantial to eat, so I baked another family favourite for them –

Sweet Potato & Herb Muffins.

You will need 2 mixing bowls.

Combine in the first bowl –

2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

200 grams grated tasty cheese

1  1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Pepper to taste.

In the second bowl, combine –

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup cooked & mashed sweet potato

Beat together well, then pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir to just combine, without over mixing.

Place about 1/4 cup of the mixture into each cup of a well greased muffin tin.

Bake in a pre-heated 220 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. This mixture makes 12 muffins.

Cool the muffins  slightly in the tin before turning out. They are absolutely delicious eaten while still warm, cut in half and with a dollop of fresh butter on top!

Any left overs, if they aren’t all devoured immediately, can be re-heated to enjoy the next day also. 🙂

Note – If you prefer, the sweet potato can be substituted with 1 cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin.

Bananas · chocolate · cooking · Muffins · Uncategorized

There’s Nothin’ Like a Muffin!

School’s out for the year and what better way for a 12 year old to celebrate the Grand Finale of his primary school years than with a freshly baked batch of Chocolate & Banana Muffins.

A firm favourite in our household for a number of years now, these mouth watering muffins fill our home with one of the most comforting aromas of all!

Chocolate & Banana Muffins

Stir together in a large bowl –

2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon salt

In another bowl, mix together –

100 grams melted butter

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup (2-3) mashed bananas

Tip the bowl of well combined wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together until the flour mixture is moistened. Don’t overmix.

Thoroughly grease a muffin tray, or alternatively place 12 muffin patty cases into the muffin tray.

Divide mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cases, about 1/4 cup per case.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, 220 degrees, for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out.