Autumn Picnic Part 2

Autumn always makes me want to get back in the kitchen and start baking! Here are a few ideas. A versatile recipe for poached rhubarb that you can use not only in the muffins, but also in a crumble with apple or pear, served warm with homemade custard or ice cream, or dolloped on your morning muesli, porridge or granola.

Feel free to swap in different kinds of fruit in the muffin mix (frozen berries would also work a treat). The banana loaf introduces some added texture with sunflower seeds and pistachios, as well as some subtle spice. Don’t forget that muffins and slices of loaf can be frozen for anytime you need a little something sweet and wholesome with your cuppa!

The lime concoction is a real grown up’s drink – a little on the tart side, but oh so refreshing. Perfect if you have a lime tree with an abundance of fruit. Enjoy!

Ginger Poached Rhubarb
Place 1 cup rapadura sugar in a large saucepan with 500mls water. Add 1 star anise and a 4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thick rounds. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring to ensure that the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to simmer. Rinse and trim 800g-1kg rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm lengths. Cook in the simmering syrup for approx 5-10 mins until softened. Remove rhubarb pieces and simmer liquid until reduced by half, then add back rhubarb pieces.

Rhubarb Muffins

  • 250g plain, organic yoghurt
  • 100mls macadamia nut oil
  • 2 organic, free range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280g (2 1/4 cups) plain organic flour (or substitute spelt flour)
  • 2 heaped tsps baking powder (preferably aluminium free)
  • 140g light muscovado sugar (I use Billingtons brand)
  • poached rhubarb pieces, drained

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 12 hole standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Put yoghurt, macadamia oil, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk to combine. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add sugar. Add yoghurt mixture to dry ingredients and lightly fold together. Fold through approximately half the quantity of ginger poached rhubarb (recipe above), reserving some for the tops. Spoon into prepared muffin holes and top each with a piece of rhubarb (and sprinkling of raw sugar, if desired).

Bake for 25mins or until tops are golden and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Makes 12.

Banana, Sunflower & Pistachio Loaf

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup muscovado sugar
  • 2 free range, organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • 500g ripe bananas, mashed
  • 100g shelled (unsalted) pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup organic SR flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal organic SR flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Grease and line the base of a 23cm loaf tin.Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Stir in bananas, nuts and seeds. Sift together flours, bicarb and spice, then fold into banana mixture.

Spoon into tin and bake for approx 1 hr, or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into centre (check before – mine was a little over done). Leave to cool in tin for 15 mins before turning onto wire rack to cool completely.

Serve buttered and drizzled with good quality honey if you like. Keeps for a few days if wrapped well – can be toasted.

Lime Refresher

  • 12 limes
  • 1 cup (220g raw organic sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Wash limes and roll on a work surface, pressing down to break the membranes (the fruit will give off more juice!)

Cut limes in half and squeeze juice through a sieve into a jug. Place squeezed halves into a bowl with the sugar and salt. Cover halves with 6 cups (1.5L) boiling water, stir to dissolve sugar and stand 10 mins only (any longer and the drink will become bitter). Strain this liquid into the juice.

Refrigerate in a screw or clip top bottle. Serve over lots of ice and garnish with mint sprigs, or mix with sparkling water or soda water and ice. (Makes 2L)

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