Straight Up yogurt beetroot cupcakes

Yogurt is a great thing. You can eat it plain, you can use it in baking, savoury dishes, smoothies… the possibilities are endless. I’ve always loved yogurts from The Collective (as evidenced by my large collection of their yogurt tubs – which, by the way, make for excellent storage containers). So it’s not a surprise that I was excited to hear about their newest product Straight Up a natural, unsweetened yogurt with no added sugar, sweeteners, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Straight Up Produced using the best West Country milk, it is uniquely luxurious, thick and creamy with a velvety smooth texture, making it a live yoghurt like no other. Because it is packed full with probiotics, it has a very clean, tangy taste – I personally found it a little too sharp, but it’s nothing that a squeeze of brown rice syrup can’t fix! I wish I could have taken proper photos of the yogurt and my baking experiments, but my dSLR camera recently broke (to be more specific, the mirror broke) when we were on holiday, and I need to figure out if it is worth getting it replaced – or it might be time for an upgrade. I am just very grateful for camera phones. They will never replace a proper camera, but at least it’s better than nothing. So, what did I make? I decided to bake some beetroot cupcakes. Yes, I know. It’s a vegetable. But do not scoff, as it is actually a wonderful ingredient and works beautifully well in baked treats. beetroot yogurt cupcake 1 I was a little nervous to find out if Straight Up would work in this recipe, but I shouldn’t have. It worked beautifully, resulting in a moist cupcake with a tender crumb. The only downside of Straight Up is you have to finish the whole tub within a few days, as  the yogurt does not contain any preservatives. I had a small amount of yogurt left over, and it sadly went a little off. So my advice to you is to eat it all, and not practise the ‘let’s just leave some for later’ policy. Beetroot & yogurt cupcakes Makes 24 small-ish cupcakes, or 15 medium cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup beetroot puree *
  • 1 cup Straight Up yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour (you may use normal all-purpose flour if you wish)
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn oil (or any other flavourless oil)

1. Preheat your oven to 180’C.
2. Sieve the brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium sized bowl. Add the ground almonds and poppy seeds to the same bowl. I usually don’t sieve my ground almonds, because they usually aren’t ground finely enough to easily pass through the sieve.
3. Add the beetroot puree, egg, sugar, yogurt and corn oil into the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment, until it forms a nice smooth paste (this should take only 1-2 minutes). You can also do this with a handheld whisk or a spatula if you don’t want to use/don’t have a stand mixer.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet beetroot mix. Mix until the batter is just combined.
6. Scoop the batter into cupcake tins.
7. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes until cooked. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes should come out clean.
8. Leave to cool slightly on wire racks, then eat!

* I usually use pre-cooked beetroot, and whizz this to form a puree. You can always cook it from scratch, but it is often difficult to find fresh beetroot. Remember to buy plain unflavoured cooked beetroot, and not those which are pre-seasoned with vinegar.

Disclosure: I was sent samples of Straight Up for review purposes, but all opinions expressed above are my own.

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[instagrammed] Homemade granola

I am not a morning person. In fact, if I had the choice my day would only begin at 12pm. As this isn’t actually possible, I try to find ways to make my mornings a little more bearable. Enter homemade granola.

I’ve tried many granola recipes over the years, but this one is currently my favourite. It’s an (adapted) recipe from one of my favourite restaurants, Eleven Madison Park – so it really wasn’t much of a surprise when it turned out so well.

I tend to use either dried strawberries or cranberries in the granola, depending on what I have lying around. But feel free to use any dried fruit that takes your fancy – that’s the beauty of homemade granola, you get to personalise it and make it your own. Add in a dollop of Greek yogurt and milk = perfection!

granola 2

Homemade granola
Makes approximately 6 cups
Adapted from an Eleven Madison Park recipe

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups rye flakes
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3⁄4 cup dried strawberries

1. Preheat your oven to 145’C.
2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, rye flakes, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and salt. Set aside.
3. Place the brown sugar, maple syrup, and olive oil in a small pan. Heat the pan over low heat, until the sugar has just dissolved.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the warm mixture over the dry oat mixture – be sure to coat the oat mixture well.
5. Spread the granola mixture on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, or a silicone baking sheet). Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until it is lightly browned. Stir the granola every 10 minutes or so to ensure even browning.
6. Remove the granola from the oven, and mix in the dried strawberries.
7. Once the granola has cooled completely, transfer to a storage container (an airtight one is preferable).

Pear & chocolate cupcakes

I love my food. I find any excuse imaginable to snack, and sometimes worry about how much I am seemingly able to eat! To ensure I maintain some sort of balance, I do try to sometimes snack on fruit rather than something errr… less healthy. I also like using fruit when baking, subsequently declaring it “healthy”.

Which is why I welcome the idea of office fruit boxes, which appears to be the new “in” thing. Fruitdrop are one of the companies that offers this service, and supply a selection of fruit to your office – each box contains a selection of 50 fruit, and you can choose from either the “Essentials” or “Seasonal” Fruitdrop office fruit boxes. Prices appear to be fairly competitive, and start at £20 per box. R gets a fruit box where he works, and I am perpetually envious that I don’t, and have to bring in my own fruit!

fruitdrop box

I was recently sent a “Seasonal” box – and was pleasantly surprised at the variety of fruit included within. The site didn’t state how many varieties would be supplied, so it was all a bit of a mystery until I received the box. As you can see from the photo, there were a few seasonal fruits e.g strawberries and plums, alongside the ever present bananas, apples, clementines and so forth.

As I had an abundance of fruit, I decided to experiment and bake with them. Eating them as they are gets boring after a while you see…

fruitdrop pear chocolate cupcakes

fruitdrop pear chocolate cupcake

So yes. I uhmed and ahhed about which fruit would be my first victim, and finally decided to make some pear and chocolate cupcakes. I tried to make these a little healthier than the average cupcake, so these were made with yogurt and oil (no butter). Shocking, I know. And there isn’t any icing because I honestly am not a fan of cupcake icing – I find it way too sweet for my taste.

The only thing I’d do differently next time would be to sprinkle some demerara sugar on the tops of the cupcakes, as this tends to give a very pleasant crunchy top to bite into. And I like crunch.

fruitdrop pear chocolate cupcake

Pear & chocolate cupcakes
Makes 24 small cupcakes

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g corn oil (or any other flavourless oil)
  • 280g Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 180g pears, chopped into 1cm pieces, and tossed lightly in 2 tbsp of plain flour*
  • 100g dark chocolate chunks/chips
  • demerara sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 170’C (fan assisted).
2. Sieve the caster sugar, plain flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
3. Add in the corn oil, Greek yogurt and the egg yolks, and mix until just combined.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
5. Gently fold in the egg whites into the cake mixture, in two additions. Take care to not overmix, as this may result in a dense cupcake.
6. Gently fold in the pear pieces and chocolate chunks.
7. Spoon the mixture into a cupcake tin lined with cupcake cases. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar if you wish.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.
9. Cool slightly, and enjoy!

* Tossing the pear pieces in flour prevents them from sinking to the bottoms of the cupcakes.

fruitdrop pear chocolate cupcake

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Fruitdrop.

[instagrammed] – Pea & spelt pancakes

I’ve got a confession: I’m a lazy blogger. There, I said it.

Considering how much I cook (I cook most days), I should be blogging a lot more often than I do – but I don’t. Mainly because it takes time to set up a “proper” photograph for the blog.. and I am usually hungry. This is coming from someone who doesn’t even set up a proper backdrop with props like a lot of the other amazing bloggers out there.

Which is why instagram is brilliant for someone like me – I snap a quick photo of the dish (ok, sometimes two or three photos), and voila, time to eat! A few people have said that I should do recipe ‘mini posts’ based on my instagram photos… and after thinking about it, I think it makes a lot of sense. So here goes! Photo is taken straight from instagram, with no further editing done. Simples. ( If you want to see more instagram photos, do follow me @breadetbutter – and if you see something you like, give me a shout and I’ll try to post a recipe here on the blog if possible. )

p.s. These were inspired by this recipe on Aran’s blog.

Pea & spelt pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes (approximately 3.5 inches wide)

For the pancakes:

  • 250g peas
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 5 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pepper and salt, to taste (I use just under 1/2 teaspoon of each)
  • 3 eggwhites

To serve:

  • Smoked salmon
  • Greek yogurt (I usually add a squeeze of lemon juice to the yogurt)
  • Chives, cut finely (alternatively, use dill)

1. Cook peas in salted, boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until they are tender. Take care to not overcook them/let them turn mushy. Remove the peas from the pot and place in a medium sized bowl.
2. Add milk to the peas, then roughly mash the peas. You can use a potato masher, fork, handheld blender, or even a food processor. I like having bits of peas to bite into, so I don’t mash it finely.
3. Add the flour, baking soda, pepper, and salt to the bowl containing the mashed peas. Stir with a spatula/spoon until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.
4. In a clean bowl, whisk the eggwhites until stiff peaks form.
5. Fold the eggwhites into the pea mixture in two batches. It’s alright to have a few small lumps of eggwhites running through the batter, it’s better than overmixing!
6. Heat a lightly oiled non-stick pan over medium heat. Pour 1/3 cup of pancake batter into the pan. Flip the pancake when you start to see bubbles on the surface, or when the edges start to dry up.
7. Repeat with remaining pancake batter, until all batter is used up.
8. Serve with smoked salmon, greek yogurt and chives.

Passionfruit yogurt cheesecake & the winner of the CSN giveaway!

Every now and again you come across something that you know you simply have to make. Sometimes it’s a recipe you see in a cookbook, sometimes it’s something you see on the television, and sometimes it’s something you see on other food blogs. On this occasion, it was Stephane’s passionfruit tofu cheesecake that caught my attention. Tofu? In cheesecake? Definitely interesting, as I’d never heard of it before.

I still had some Total Greek yogurt at the time, so decided to try substituting the tofu for yogurt – and then prayed hard that it would work out. And thankfully, it did work. The yogurt provided a beautifully creamy texture to the cheesecake layer, and I could even tell myself it was “healthy” because I used fat free Greek yogurt and light cream cheese.

Instead of making them into mini cakes, I decided to make them into tarts. What can I say? I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to cooking – I can’t stick to instructions and am always adapting recipes to suit my mood on a particular day. Having said that, I’m not someone who believes that recipes are something that need to be followed to the letter – I agree that it’s important when it comes to things like pastry, but when it comes to day to day cooking I believe it’s more than acceptable to tweak the recipe to suit your liking.

And because I only have a limited number of tart cases, I used ramekins for the remaining cheesecakes (or in this case, cheesecake pots). I quite like how these turned out – the only tricky bit was scraping up every last bit of the biscuit base which was wedged into the groove at the bottom of the ramekins. I’m a HUGE fan of biscuit bases – I believe that it is a very important component of cheesecakes, and if I must be honest I think it’s my favourite thing about cheesecakes. Strange? Perhaps.

But before I get to the recipe, I have to announce the winner of the CSN Stores £50/$75 voucher giveaway! Thank you to all of you who participated, and after compiling all the entries – random.org has chosen entry #41 as the winner!

Congratulations, Leilani! You’ve just won yourself a CSN Stores gift voucher worth $75/£50! I hope you enjoy spending it. 🙂

Passionfruit yogurt cheesecake
Adapted from this recipe on Zen Can Cook
Makes one 8 inch cake/10-12 cheesecake pots

For the biscuit base:

  • 15 digestive biscuits, crumbed
  • 120g butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the yogurt cheesecake:

  • 400g greek yogurt (I used Total fat free Greek yogurt)
  • 450g cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Philadelphia light cream cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons passionfruit juice (I used Tropicana orange passionfruit juice)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (I used 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
  • 3/4 cup sugar

For the passionfruit jelly:

  • 4 ripe passion fruits, juiced – reserve the seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatine

For the biscuit base:

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C. Butter an 8 inch cake tin/ramekins/tart tins. If using a ring line the bottom with aluminum foil and place on a baking tray.

2. Put the digestive crumbs in a bowl, and add the sugar, ground ginger and salt to it. Mix well.

3. Add the melted butter to the crumb mixture, and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin/ramekin and press it down in an even layer. Bake until golden (takes approx 10 minutes – this may differ according to the size of your tin) and let it cool completely.

For the yogurt cheesecake:

4. Put the yogurt and the passion fruit juice in a food processor and mix until smooth. (I used a stand mixer)

5. Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat until warm to the touch. Add the powdered gelatine to the warmed cream,  and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Put the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla seeds/vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat until fluffy.

7. Fold cream, followed by passionfruit yogurt mixture into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated.

8. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the crust, and refrigerate until set. This will take at least 6 hours.

For the passionfruit jelly layer:

9. Strain the passionfruit juice and place in a small saucepan over low heat. (I didn’t strain it)

10. Add the powdered gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

11. Meanwhile rinse some of the passion-fruit seeds and place on top of the set cheesecake.

12. Pour the passionfruit mixture on top, and refrigerate for at least one hour/until set.

13. Serve!

Mixed berry yogurt gelée

It’s gotten awfully nippy in London in the last week, and I’ve had to start wearing scarves again. I’d been holding off on my scarf wearing, simply because in the strange world that is my mind, it’s not autumn until I have to resort to scarves. But sadly, summer is now well and truly over, and my (rather extensive) scarf collection will be put to good use again.

As some of you may know, I have an immense backlog when it comes to blog posts. As I was looking through it, I saw photos of the mixed berry yogurt gelée that I made recently – and thought it was the perfect post to bid goodbye to summer.

I’m a huge fan of yogurt (there’s always yogurt in my fridge), and I use in many ways – a simple snack, dips, curries, desserts… And the list goes on. So, its no surprise that I was immediately drawn to the idea of yogurt gelée when I saw it on Heather’s blog.

Rather coincidentally, the people at Total contacted me, and asked if I would like to try their range of yogurts. Maybe they knew of my love for yogurt? Anyway, what caught my attention was the claim that their 2% and 10% greek yogurt would not split when cooked. As I mentioned above, I use yogurt to cook curries (because its muchhh healthier than using coconut cream regularly), but have always found that they split – leaving a slightly “bitty” curry. It doesn’t affect the taste, but let’s face it: it’s not very attractive.

Photo courtesy of Total

So, I figured that the best way to “test” Total’s yogurt was to put it to the hob. And I am pleased to report that it is a lot more resistant to splitting than any other yogurt I’ve used in the past. After using the whole range (they do it in full fat 10%, 2% and 0%) in a number of recipes, I found that the full fat version was beautifully un-splittable even when heated over high heat. The 0% version did split, but this was only after a good few minutes of it bubbling happily on the high heat (plus, they never claimed that the fat free version was unsplittable anyway).

Of course, the gelée requires the yogurt to be heated, and I’m very glad I chose to use the full fat yogurt as it turned out beautifully. The mixed berries are placed into the containers first then flash frozen in the freezer before the yogurt layer is poured on top of it. This gives you lovely distinct layers. If you get impatient and do it before the berry layer is properly frozen, you get slightly ‘smudged’ lines (like me)…

Do note that I didn’t use any gelatine in the berry layer, which means that tastes like a chilled berry coulis when you come to eating it. If you want to have both layers in jelly form, add 1/2 tsp gelatine (dissolved in 1 tbsp water) to the mixed berry mixture.

Mixed berry yogurt gelée
Adapted from this recipe on Sprinkle Bakes

For the mixed berry puree layer:

  • 250g mixed berries (I used frozen mixed berries from Waitrose)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sugar (you may need to use more/less depending on how sweet/tart your berries are)

For the yogurt gelée layer:

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (I used Total)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste – optional (you can also use vanilla extract/half a vanilla bean)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp gelatine
  • 2 tbsp cold water

1. Place berries and the honey in a food processor or blender, and whizz until it forms a smooth puree.

2. Taste the puree, and add the sugar according to how sweet you want it to be.

3. Pour the mixed berry puree into your containers (you can use anything from ramekins to glasses to mugs – obviously something see through will be best so you can see the layers and colours), and place in the freezer.*

4. Whilst your mixed berry puree is setting in the freezer, make the yogurt gelée. Pour the water into a small bowl, and sprinkle the gelatine over the bowl. Set aside for a few minutes to allow it to bloom.

5. Combine the yogurt, vanilla (if using) and sugar in a pan and stir to combine. Heat over medium high heat until it thins, this should take anywhere between 3-5 minutes.

6. Add the gelatine mixture to the yogurt mixture, and stir to combine. ** Remove the pan from the heat, and let the yogurt mixture cool slightly. (It should not be piping hot when you pour it into the containers.)

7. Remove your containers from the freezer, and layer the yogurt mixture on top of the mixed berry puree.

8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and serve. This recipe makes 6 ramekins/5 ramekins + 2 shot glasses worth of gelée.

*To make a ’tilted’ layer: When freezing your mixed berry layer, place your glasses/containers in a larger bowl so it is tilted – and gravity does the rest for you!

** Heather microwaves the bloomed gelatine mixture for 10 seconds (it will turn liquid), but I didn’t do this as errr…. I have the tendency to burn things in the microwave.