Sunday, September 20, 2015

Apple Pan Bread

This isn't the prettiest cake but it's a moist, delicious apple cinnamon treat.

Apple mixture:
  • 10 oz. (about 4 large apples) pared, chopped apples (slightly sour apples are better)
  • 1 oz. (1/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Mix in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until bubbling. Then cover and leave over low heat for just 2 minutes.  Leave to cool.  Apples should still be firm.

Cake batter:
  • 3 oz. (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 8 oz. plain white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
Cream butter with sugar until light, add the egg and beat until light and creamy. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder and add without mixing; add cooled apple mixture and milk, and then mix only enough to blend. Grease an 8" square pan.   Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top.

  • 2 oz. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
Mix well together and sprinkle over the top of batter in the pan before putting in oven.

Bake at medium heat (350 F) for about 30 minutes, until a knife or toothpick stuck into the middle comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Sunday, March 29, 2015



  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into strips (enough to make 3 layers in a baking dish) - alternative: zucchini.
  • 8oz grated cheese (your choice which - I use cheddar)
  • 1 small (6oz) tin tomato paste
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 3 tbsp chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cream (or milk)
  • olive oil


Slice the eggplant (or zucchini) about 1/8"-1/4" thick and lay flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake in 400F oven for 30-45 minutes (depending how thin the slices are), until soft but not turning crisp. (Alternately, you can fry in oil which is faster but less healthy.) Remove and set aside when done. You can do this step a day in advance and keep the eggplant in the fridge.

While or after the eggplant is cooking, in a saucepan, heat a little olive oil on medium heat and add the onions until they're translucent. Then add the ground beef and mix regularly until the meat is also cooked.

Add the tomato paste and broth to the saucepan and mix together, then turn the heat low and cover, allow to simmer very gently for 10-15 minutes.  If the eggplant isn't quite ready, you can take off the head and set aside, covered, to wait. 

Turn the oven to 350F.  In an oven-safe baking pan, place a layer of the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Then spread half the meat mixture flat on top. Add another layer of eggplant, and another 1/3 of the cheese, and the remainder of the meat mixture.  Press this down fairly firmly so it makes a flat top.  Finally, add a third layer of eggplant, sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg and cream together with a fork; add a little salt and pepper if you like. Pour over the top of the baking pan, and bake in the oven at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the top is set. It can keep warm in the oven longer if needed, but since everything but the egg is cooked already, it just needs long enough to set the egg.

Serve warm.  Leftovers freeze & reheat well.

Low(er) carb cheesecake

McCall's Best Cheesecake (modified)


  • 3/4 walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • Combine, mix well, and press onto the bottom of a spring form pan. Leave to set in fridge.
Main body
  • 24oz (680g) plain cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (6oz) sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat the cream cheese until light and smooth, then add eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and sugar, mixing till light and smooth. Pour over crust in tin, and bake about 45 minutes until beginning to set.

  • 2 cups (500g tub) sour cream
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Mix together in the sour cream tub. When the cheesecake is ready, remove from oven and spread this topping over it. Return to oven for another 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool in tin.

Refrigerate overnight before serving. Good with strawberries or strawberry sauce.

Without the strawberries, this should work out to about 380g of carbohydrates in the entire cake, which would be just under 50g for 1/8 or 25g for 1/16 slice.  Using sugar substitute would obviously reduce the carbs even more.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

High fiber breakfast muffins

I've been experimenting with recipes for a high fiber, low calorie breakfast muffin that I can make on the weekend then freeze to take to work each morning.  I'm still tweaking it, but so far this isn't bad:

High Fiber Breakfast Muffins

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups Fiber One bran
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup (about 2 snack pouches) organic apple sauce
1/2 cup 2% milk
4 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
1 cup frozen raspberries
2/3 cups chopped dried figs
optional: 1 tsp each ground ginger or cinnamon

Mix everything together.  Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.  Fill each to the top; the muffins won't rise much. Should make about 20 portions.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.

Nutrition info:
  • ~140 calories per muffin (assuming 20 muffins; or ~180 calories each if you make 16 muffins)
  • 5.8g fat
  • 21.2g carbohydrates
  • 4.2g protein
  • 0.5mg cholesterol
  • 4.2g protein

Monday, March 09, 2015

Candied bacon


Bacon (I used thick cut hickory smoked)
Brown sugar
Chipotle chile (or your spicy seasonig of choice, preferably in dry form)


Mix sugar and spice in a shallow bowl. Amounts really depend on how much bacon you're making and how spicy you want it; here's what I used for about 3 dozen bacon strips:

Line a baking tray with foil, ensuring the sides of the foil are raised so grease won't drip out. Preheat oven to about 400F.

Firmly press one side of the bacon into the sugar mixture, then lay on foil with sugar side up. When the tray is full, bake for about 15 minutes or until bacon is cooked crispy. Note that the brown sugar will caramelise and make the bacon look darker than it actually is, so double check it's cooked enough. The goal is to cook it enough that the fat is nicely crispy even once it cools.

Blot the bacon's bottom side on a paper towel to remove excess fat, then set on parchment paper or a cooling rack to cool.

 Avoid humidity. Serve cold or room temperature.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

German Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter (or Coffee) Frosting

German Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter (or Coffee) Frosting 


(modified from Bakehouse)
These are much lighter and airier than my other cupcake recipe, which is more dense and moist and cake-like.
  • 8 oz (1.5 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz (2/3 cups) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 oz (1.5 cups) sugar
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) melted butter
  • 2 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup warm coffee or warm water (I use water as I don't drink coffee)
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In large bowl, beat together sugar, butter and egg until thick and pale, about two minutes with a handmixer. Beat in vanilla.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture and warm water (or coffee) alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Using a spoon, fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted into center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.

Makes about 16-20 cupcakes depending how full you fill the cups.

Top with your choice of frosting, two great ones below:

Peanut Butter Frosting 

(from AllRecipes)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (use a commercial brand, not a pure organic brand as you actually need the added oil.)
  • 3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
Make sure butter and peanut butter are at room temperature (and butter not melted) - this is important or the texture will be coarse! You may think you can cheat with a microwave, but trust me, I tried it and it did not end well. Just leave them on the counter a few hours or overnight.

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Consensus from work was very positive:

Coffee Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • about 6 tablespoons strong black coffee at room temperature or as needed to soften (e.g. use way too much instant coffee in a small amount of hot water, or brew very strong coffee far too long). Do let the coffee cool before using, or it'll melt the butter.
  • (Optional: you could also add about 2 tbsp cocoa powder for mocha icing)
Again, butter must be at room temperature - leave out overnight.

Beat the butter well, slowly adding the sugar alternating with coffee until smoothly mixed. Beat at least a couple minutes to ensure it's light and fluffy.

I don't even like coffee and I thought this frosting tasted amazing.