Monday, January 30, 2017

Orange Oat Muffins - #MuffinMonday

On almost every Jamaican dinner table on a Sunday, you will find rice and peas. The peas are either kidney beans (we call them 'red peas') or pigeon peas (we call them 'gungo peas'). I didn't like pigeon peas so growing up, you were more likely to see rice and peas made with kidney beans being served. More likely. You see, my mother loves pigeon peas. She may prefer it to kidney beans. And even if she doesn't, she would often get tired of the red peas every Sunday. She'd try all sorts of things to get me to eat pigeon peas. No dice. Sometimes she'd make the rice and peas and then help me to pick out all the pigeon peas. The rice was still flavoured with the pigeon peas but I guess that was acceptable to me.

One day she took me to the market and bought some peas from a vendor. Both my mother and the vendor told me that they were "African peas". They looked suspiciously like the dreaded pigeon peas but what do I know? That Sunday, our rice and peas was made with "African peas". And you know what? I ate every single bite. I found out about the trickery at a later date and was not at all pleased.

I still don't really like pigeon peas. I am the point now where I eat it without much thought but I'd really prefer to eat red peas. The turning point came when I was ten years old and would visit a friend every evening after school. Her mother would offer me dinner every evening and every evening I would turn her down. I wasn't being picky - I just knew that I was going home to have my own meal so I didn't need to eat there.

One day my friend told me that her mother was a bit offended that I always refused to eat there. Great. So the next time she offered, I happily accepted dinner. Do you know what they served that day? Chicken with rice and pigeon peas! I was not about to tell Mrs S that I did not eat pigeon peas and I was not going to pick them out so I ate every bite. Unfortunately, I went home and told my mother about this. So, of course, you know what she cooked the next Sunday.

I tell you all of that just to say that when Picky Nephew, who declared that he doesn't eat muffins, came into the kitchen and asked what I was making, I said, "!" He asked to help and had lots of comments. "Aren't oranges going to make it sour?" "We should add some honey." "Can we add syrup?" "What about baking soda?" "I'm an expert at mixing." When I asked him how he know so much about baking, he told me that he taught himself. OK, sir. I am pleased to report that he enjoyed his "cupcake"  and I see lots more "cupcakes" in his future.

I am eyeing the list from the Muffin Monday bloggers below for the next one to try to get him to eat. Be sure to check out the list too!

Orange Oat Muffins
Yield: ~ 11 muffins

100 grams sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
180 grams flour
60 grams oat flour (I pulsed 60 grams of oats in my food processor)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 425 F and grease or line a muffin pan.

Rub the orange zest into the sugar for a couple minutes. Stir in the flour, oat flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat together orange juice, milk, oil and the egg.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined.

Fill each muffin well almost to the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 375F. Bake for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

  • You can sprinkle some oats on top before baking. I wanted to but the likelihood of my nephew eating the muffin would decrease to 0%. You can also top with some sugar + zest. The baked muffins can be glazed with a bit of orange juice + powdered sugar.
  • These muffins are quite light - not dense at all.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Spanish-Style Barley - CIC

It's the 20th again so it's time for another Crazy Ingredient Challenge! This month's winning ingredients are barley and salsa. Not too crazy but definitely not two items that you see together often. I always have lofty plans for CIC and then suddenly, it's a couple days before the 20th and I start grabbing all the ideas and choosing the easiest one. Casseroles, burritos, salads, slow cooker dishes. All were tossed in favour of this simple Spanish-style side. Usually with the Spanish style rice, you are chopping onions and garlic and tomatoes and peppers but since we're using salsa, you can skip all of that. Easy peasy and tasty!

I'm a sucker for corn so I stirred some in. Carrots, beans, and peas asked to join the party so I grudgingly let them in. I don't dislike carrots and green beans but green peas are not my friends. When I was a little girl, I convinced myself that they gave me a headache. I could look at a can of green peas and my head would immediately start hurting. I can't even tell you how I made the association between my headaches and green peas but I did. I think I was just looking for a food to hate? Or I just hadn't found the true trigger for my migraines? I do eat them now if they're on my plate but I'd prefer if they weren't. I really can't tell you if it's a flavour thing. Adult Kelly is just siding with her younger self.

Spanish Style Barley

1 tablespoon oil 
1 cup pearl barley
1 cup prepared salsa
2 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup frozen vegetables


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. When oil is hot, stir in the barley. Stir occasionally until barley is toasted - about five minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn!

Add the salsa, water, and salt to taste. You could also use stock but I preferred to use water since the salsa had a bit of salt in it.

Bring to a boil then allow to simmer covered for about 40 minutes. When all the liquid is almost absorbed, stir in the frozen vegetables. Cover and cook until the vegetables are heated through. Barley is ready when it's tender but still has a bit of a chew. If your barley still isn't tender, add a little bit of water and continue cooking.

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