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Tuesday 28 February 2012

Apricot, Apple and Oat Muffins

True Love = someone making you breakfast ♥♥♥

Well, it's been a long weekend of firsts: my first time visiting Germany (cheers Sam and Jen for hosting!), my first time eating Schweinshaxe (beyond delicious) and, as if that weren't enough, I'm about to watch Steel Magnolias for the first time as well. You simply cannot say that Mr. P does not live on the edge.

I want to put up some of the photos from DĂĽsseldorf actually, if only to show off the bread we ate, but since that would corrupt this particularly marvellous and happily accidental cerise/magenta colour scheme that I seem to have chosen today, it's going to have to wait for another time.

So, I've been away. In the sense of not posting as well as not being at home. To be honest, I usually flake out in February. All those January lamingtons kind of wear me down, and then there's Valentine's Day. I hate all the sickly rubbish that people post on their blogs around that particular holiday, as much (well, almost as much) as I do the green crap that's coming shortly for St. Patrick's Day. Blech.

I am known as a bitter person (just ask Mr. Other P), I accept that. But really - is making a batch of red velvet cheesecake brownies (that aren't even technically brownies) a good way of saying 'I love you'? They might work if you were going to hand them round to friends, but for a solitary loved one? That's just saying, 'Here baby, get fat.'

Not exactly nice.

I had an email from some PR person asking me for a Valentine's Day-inspired recipe and I did consider the suggestion before politely refusing. And I'll tell you why: despite my distaste for all things pink and heart shaped, I actually do think that cooking for someone is one of the best ways to show you love, care for and appreciate them. And I don't think we should only do this on February 14.

Consider: would you rather someone made you cake pops once a year, or cooked you dinner or lunch unexpectedly from time to time when you were too busy even to shop? For me, the latter wins hands down. Though if Mr. Other P is cooking, I'll take breakfast instead. Porridge is much more difficult to mess up. (No offense, dear - and thank you for all the cups of tea you bring me in the morning.)

I think making a decent breakfast for the people you love is one of the sweetest things you can do. I'll take bacon and eggs, muesli, whatever. Even a Schweinshaxe if you're offering. But my suggestion for those of you reading this and feeling like they want to rustle up a hearty feast for someone special (I include family members; love is not just romantic) is not to rush for the waffle iron or skillet. It's these muffins.

You can get the ingredients measured out, mixed and in the oven in less than 5 minutes. If you change the apricots to raisins or dried cranberries, there'll be no snipping and you'll take even less time. Heck, chuck what you like in there. The point is this: nothing says 'I love you' more than a hot, buttered muffin and a cup of coffee.

And not a love-heart in sight!

I have to go: Julia, Sally and Dolly are waiting. But I'll be back...

Apricot, Apple and Oat Muffins

You will need:

a large handful of dried apricots
1 apple, chopped but not peeled
1 cup of porridge oats
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (or juice of your choice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

optional: 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat the oven as high as it will go. Snip the apricots into small pieces with kitchen scissors, and put them into a large bowl. Add the apple chunks, oats, flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Mix well - you want to get the fruit pieces well coated with the dry ingredients to make sure they don't sink to the bottom of your muffins.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk or juice and oil with the vanilla and cinnamon if using. They aren't really optional by the way: the fragrance that this mixture creates will prove that.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together for 30 seconds using a fork. The batter will be lumpy; the muffins will be perfect. DO NOT OVER MIX!
  4. Divide this batter between a well greased 12-hole muffin pan. The muffin cavities will be full to the very top, but don't worry. The oats stop everything from rising too much.
  5. Put the muffin tray into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 200°C. In 20 minutes, the muffins will be done: stick a cocktail stick into the centre of each one to be sure. There should be no raw batter clinging to it.
  6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so and serve warm with butter and maybe some jam.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The winner!

That awkward moment when you realise that you were supposed to update your blog weeks ago with the information that everyone is waiting for: the winner of Re-Inventing the Lamington 2012.

The embarrassment...

Reminds me of that awkward moment when you realise, in Business, before landing, that you've got dessert all over your left trouser leg. And that this means you've looked a mess all day.


(Not that that second one has ever happened to me, oh no!)

Well, we have a winner. And it's Bea. With the incredible Meyer Lemon Lamingtons.

It was harder than you'd think to choose a winner from all those great entries. I think part of me loves the crazy ones more than the good taste varieties, and also, I know (believe me, I know) how much effort making a batch of lamingtons can seem to be. Saying one of them is better than the others is impossible. They're all winners.

But someone has to take home the prize and it's the lemony goodness of these lams that did it for me, and seemingly, you lot as well. So come on Bea. Get in touch and I'll send it to ya!

For everyone else: don't be a stranger. I've got, like, three posts just waiting to be published. So come back for them.

Friday 3 February 2012

Re-Inventing the Lamington 2012: The Round Up!

Well, it never fails to amaze me that you bake along. Honestly. Words fail.

I always think, 'It's just a silly game that I convince myself to play; nobody really likes it.' And yet you do, and all bust out the lamingtons like there's no tomorrow. I think I had the first entry this year before I'd even posted a Re-Invented Lamington myself. You are a dedicated bunch.

I will say that I was on the 'rather' side of devastated to discover that there was no Lady Gaga Lamington ('It doesn't matter if you love lam, or Capital L-A-M...'), but don't let it get you down as well, because we did get an Elvis Presley Lamington instead. But you'll have to wait for that one...

Do please read to the end of this post, since I need your input to help me select a winner. And be sure to check out the blogs of all those who entered - there're lots of great posts here.

With out further ado, the 2012 Lamington Hit Parade!

(Edit: I forgot this first one! So am sticking it up top so you get to see it!)

Rachel from Be Confectionate made some Cannoli Lamingtons. It's a pretty touching post; check it out. I had a look around her blog and she has some other rather snazzy lammies as well, so lovers of my inventions need to get over there pronto...

Bea made Meyer Lemon Lamingtons with white chocolate and toasted coconut. I've never had a Meyer Lemon, or a Key Lime. It strikes me that Americans can be quite selfish with their speciality citrus and refuse to export. I want these lamingtons. Now.

Check out these Lamington Whoopie Pies from the Zuckerbäckerei! They were posted on the Delicious Delicious Delicious Facebook Page (come join in!), and I nearly collapsed with excitement when I saw them.

Drink More Tea made three lots of lamingtons. The first were these gorgeous Iced-Vovo Lamingtons (how beautiful is this picture by the way? I this blog...). Never had an Iced-Vovo before, but you know what? I'll take the lamington instead. Gorgeous!

As if that weren't enough though, she also crafted some Lamington Cake Pops (bang on trend there, DMT), and, a woman after my own heart, Lamington Love Spoons. You know, I love seeing the party spoons you all make. I should do a round up of them one day...

Now, I won't lie to you. This next one made me scream. It's from My My Sunflower, is a Pandan and Coconut Lamington, and wait until you see the colour. I have a bit of a thing for pandan flavoured goodies, and got a bit obsessed with them in Singapore. Not that it's my favourite lamington or anything...

OK, do you want a Red Velvet Lamington? Great, so do I. We have Just So Cakey to thank for it, and we surely will. Blog envy: I want a flashing 'Happy Australia Day' sign too.

Mary Mary Culinary
says I'm bossy and she's right. But it got her to bake Chestnut Lamingtons using homemade candied chestnuts, so I beg you to please excuse me. I think she deserves applause for this. Homemade!

In the UK, we have the Crunchie bar, and very nice it is too. But Nightwyrm made a Violet Crumble Lamington which is basically the Aussie version. Methinks that is very appropriate indeed! It's made from Golden Syrup cake by the way. Want.

Alison doesn't have a blog (as far as I am aware); she entered via email, which is always cool. I like getting emails that aren't from PR people. :) Her Trifecta Lamingtons comprise of peanut butter, chocolate cake, frosting and homemade candied bacon. I think I want to try this one most of all!

Lydia made a very English themed entry - the Apple Crumble Lamington. I can't believe I never thought of this myself. I've failed as a Brit. I like these because the oatsy coating means they''ll help to keep your heart healthy.

I really hate people who are queeny about presentation, because all I really care about is what food tastes like. But I have to say that I love the way Kate of What Kate Baked has served her Hot Chocolate Lamingtons. Beautiful! Love the explanation of what we're actually celebrating with Australia Day too (it's not all about the lamingtons, sadly!).

Let me be clear about something: you cannot please me more than with the words 'White Chocolate and Macadamia Lamingtons'. Thank you, Kalinda of Wheat Free Meat Free. I'll never forget this. MACADAMIAS PEOPLE!

This next one is one of the best lamingtons I've ever seen. It has a face! Raina made (or should that be 'papped' - she says they met at the Louvre) Cherrington Lamsicles. My heart has skipped a beat.
I promised you an Elvis Presley Lamington and I've got one for you right here. It's from Curtis, and features the Kewpie he won in last year's contest. I absolutely love it, and have to say a big 'Welcome Back Curtis', since he's suffered from a bad bout of what I like to call Blog Burn-Out recently. Think he's back for good now though!

And that's not it!

Natasha posted her entry on the Facebook page as well. Check out this stunning Lamington-Inspired Cake Roll. You know I've never made a roll cake? Should I remedy that do you think?

I *think* that's everyone who entered. If I've missed you off the list, give me a shout out and I'll fix it straight away. I'd hate to think I'd somehow left your lamingtons behind in my coconut and cake crumb littered wake...

So, as I said readers, I need your help. I have decided that this year I'm going to be doing the judging myself. It takes less time this way and is a lot simpler. However, it's by no means an easy task. How can I choose a prize winner at the drop of a hat when there has been so much creativity? I'll need a few days to think about it. And please, let me know your thoughts. Either here in the comments, or over on FB. Whose lamington would you rather make or eat? Whose blog post did you enjoy reading the most?

Your comments will really make this task easier, so don't be shy about it. Tell me what you think!

See you back here in a few days for the announcement of our winner! And best of luck to all who entered.
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