05 November, 2011

Lemon poppy seed muffins

Ever since I watched Jamie Oliver make an amazing pie - and then tried it myself the next day and had the crust come out light, crumbly and delicious (quite a feat for me, pies are not my best friends...unless I'm eating them), since then, I have been calling myself a fan of Jamie Oliver. I find him kind of endearing, especially since he reminds me of my cousin.
That being said, here is an adaption from one of his recipes - Almond cake with lemon poppy seeds
I decided to change them into muffins - and they turned out really well! It's a very sweet, slightly crunchy muffin - moist and perfect with a cup of tea.

Heat Oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or a 20cm round cake tin.

Beat together until light and fluffy:
120g (1/2 Cup) soft butter
1/2 Cup sugar

Add 4 egg yolks one at a time
Add the zest and juice of 2 lemons and beat until smooth.

Pulse in 1 & 1/4 Cups self-raising flour and 1/2Cup finely chopped walnuts (The original recipe called for almond flour which I don't have but this seemed to work just fine)
Add 2T milk and stir until just combined. Stir in 2-3T poppy seeds and set aside.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites from your four eggs til they form soft peaks (ahem - a little bragging; I did this by hand...I'd suggest walking a round the room while doing it, and making grunting noises every now and then to take your mind off the pain in your arm).
Beat in 1 T sugar until smooth.

Stir a few spoonfuls of the egg into the flour mixture and mix together. Fold the rest of the egg carefully into it.
Spoon into muffin or cake tin and pop it into the oven for 25-30 minutes (muffins) and 45 minutes (cake), until it has risen and is a golden brown.

04 November, 2011

Apparently there's a "correct" way to eat pizza

"You eat your pizza backwards."
I've been told this fairly often. Apparently there is a correct way to eat pizza and I've been doing it wrong all my life. Ever since I was small, and our family would get our favourite kinds of pizza as a special treat, I've been eating it backwards. We'd get pizza from Pizza Inn, the Zimbabwean version of Pizza Hut...kind of... (see the picture below). They once had ostrich-meat pizza. But we got Margarita (cheese and tomato), Hawaiian (pineapple and ham) and Four Seasons for mom who likes olives. I never really understood what Four Seasons was... I've always eaten my pizza by taking one bite off the end, crunching through the crust, and then chomping slowly through the remainder, savouring the gooey, cheese-soaked middle for my final bites.

I remember when I was getting ready to come to America for the first time and an American missionary in our church warned my mom that we would have to learn the correct way to open a milk carton or we would be laughed at. Apparently there is a correct way to open milk cartons.
I didn't know all these rules; why tomato sauce (ketchup) is so popular or why everyone craves Mac n' Cheese and I'm still amazed by the slices of flavourless (sorry), pre-cut, neat orange and yellow squares of cheese that come packaged and separated individually by films of plastic.

I knew how to eat sadza though, rolling the steaming white paste into a ball with my fingertips, dipping it in the meat stew or vege relish and popping it into my mouth, keeping one hand clean. I knew to wash the rich, dark mud off the carrot before I crunched my way through it and throw the green, leafy hair on the compost pile or giving it to the chickens. I knew my mouth, hands and feet would be stained pink, red and purple for days if I went to the mulberry tree.
But none of this helped in America; you can't pick fruit off the trees unless you pay an entrance fee and there is no mealie-meal for the sadza. Pizza's one of the few things you can eat with your hands and there's no "double-dipping" allowed. It's a new world with its own rules.

I don't have a picture of Pizza Inn, but here's the ice-cream version; "Creamy Inn". Zim has Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Chicken Inn and Bakers Inn.