Monday, August 28, 2017

Ackee and Saltfish Muffin - #MuffinMonday

Once again, I am recreating a favourite breakfast in muffin form. Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish. The ackee is a fruit that can be toxic if eaten when unripe while saltfish typically refers to salted cod. When I wasn't in Jamaica, I could only find salted Alaskan Pollock and that worked well too. The dish isn't the most complex - you boil the ackee, prepare the saltfish (by rinsing several times and then boiling or soaking in hot water for a while) and then you sauté the two together with onion, garlic, tomatoes and any other seasonings that you fancy. Some think that the prepared dish looks a bit like scrambled eggs. I guess if you allow the ackees to break down during the cooking process, it might. I think keeping the pieces as whole as possible looks a lot more attractive. My mother won't eat it if the ackee is crushed while I have friends who won't eat it if it is not crushed. If you cook it, I will eat it, but I'd prefer it you didn't crush it.

Ackee at various stages. The closed fruit is toxic. The open one is ready to be cooked and eaten

Ackee and Saltfish. Source: Food Network

When I first thought of this muffin, I had intended on adding each component separately to the muffin batter - some ackee, some saltfish, tomatoes, onions, etc. But on the day that I was ready to make these, I needed to wait for my ackee to thaw (I had parboiled it beforehand). While waiting, it occurred to me that I had already prepared some ackee and saltfish for breakfast. Why not just use that? So now this muffin becomes a way to use up leftovers. I'll use the other ackee in a quiche, fritters, or in some future muffins. The ackee is quite mild tasting and I saw a sweet muffin that I'd like to try with it.

Be sure to visit all the other Muffin Monday bakers! Their links are below.

Ackee and Saltfish Muffins 
Yield: 12 muffins

240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of black pepper
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
200 grams prepared ackee and saltfish


Preheat the oven to 350 F and prep your muffin pan. Use liners or grease the cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. In a separate container, whisk milk, egg, and oil. If the ackee is in larger pieces, dice into small pieces.

Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until almost combined and there are still streaks of flour remaining. Fold in the ackee and saltfish.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

#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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Monday, August 21, 2017

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream - #CIC

I'm late! I'm late! Sorry to my fellow Crazy Ingredient Challenge members. It's the end of the day on the 20th and I'm just typing this. It was bad planning on my part coupled with my electricity company hating me. I woke up early this morning intending on getting this done. I'd be a little late but not too late. I woke up to a message from my cousin - "There'll be no electricity today between 7:30 and 5." It was 6:41 am. Welp. That changes things. My phone wasn't charged and there were a ton of other little things that I needed to get done in 49 minutes. CIC would have to wait.

I don't know why there was a scheduled power outage - maintenance, perhaps - but I am back in the land of the living. Life without internet is rough! The lack of electricity, in general, sucks too. But one can make do during the day. No internet, however? That's no way to live. I finished a novel that I've been reading for a few months and fully intended on getting a bunch of other things done. But I napped instead.

Let's soothe our souls with cupcakes. The winning ingredients were chili powder and honey. Easy. But the easy ones always stump me. Luckily, I have people who think for me so it was JJ who suggested chili chocolate cupcakes with a honey buttercream. I'm supposed to share a cupcake with her. Uhm. Well.. Maybe if I pretended that I didn't make them then I don't have to share them? The chili powder isn't particularly strong. It's an underlying flavour. I think next time I'll skip the cinnamon so the the chili powder and cayenne can really shine. Experiment with the cayenne. I doubled the amount called for in the original recipe and I think I could definitely kick it up another notch. But someone else who is sensitive to pepper might not feel the same way.

Scroll down to see the other chili powder and honey recipes this month!

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Good Food; yield: 12)

115 grams of flour
60 grams cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
115 grams butter
200 grams sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
120 millilitres milk

Honey Buttercream 
300 grams butter
120 grams confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time at beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture and half the milk - mix until just incorporated. Add another third then the rest of the milk. Mix again until just incorporated and then mix in the remaining flour.
Scoop about a quarter cup into each cupcake wrapper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream.
Beat the butter until creamy and then slowly incorporate the confectioner's sugar. Beat until well combined and then add in the honey, vanilla, and salt. If the buttercream is too stiff, add a bit of milk. If it's too thin, add in some more powdered sugar.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vegetable Steamed Buns - #BreadBakers

The Bread Bakers are turning off their ovens in favour of steaming this month with a steamed buns theme. It's perfect for me since I have not been able to use my oven since March 31. My stove has decided to be extra efficient and have the cooking gas last almost twice as long. Wonderful, really. It just that there isn't enough gas remaining to get the oven to the desired temperature. We can only cook on the stove top. Normally a tank of gas lasts about 7 months. This one was bought almost 13 months ago. Clearly, there's some kinda sorcery involved too.

Onto the steamed buns!

I've been obsessed with these little steamed buns for years now.  I first saw a cheeseburger filled version over on Willow Bird Baking. I didn't own a steamer so I just lusted. Three years later, baozi was the theme for Sourdough Surprises and I just had to try. Still no steamer but I rigged one with a plate. Not perfect but good enough for me. They tasted great but my shaping was horrible. It's a couple years later and my shaping is still horrible. They look good after the I've just shaped them but once they rest and then go into that steamer, they take on a shape of their own. I don't own one of those special bamboo steamers but I used a metal steamer basket that I had hanging around.

Scroll down to see what everyone else steamed this month!

Vegetable Steamed Buns
Yield: 12 buns
Dough adapted from Yi Reservation

230 grams all purpose flour
25 grams sugar
20 grams cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
120 ml water
1 1/2 cup steamed vegetables.
(I used callaloo, a Jamaican green leafy vegetable)


Whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, yeast, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and then stream in the water. Knead for 10-15 minutes until you have a soft, smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky nor should it be dry. If it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour. If it feels dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is soft and smooth.

Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out each ball into a 4 inch wide circle. If the dough resists, let it rest for a bit. Each circle should be thicker in the centre.

Add approximately 2 tablespoons of filling to each circle leaving about an inch uncovered around the edges. If you're great at pleating, pleat away! If not, seal as best as you can, it will still taste great.

Place the buns on squares of parchment and let proof for 30 minutes. You may have to seal them a bit more after proofing.

Steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Do not open lid while steaming. Enjoy warm.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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