Today we are spending the day with our friends Lynn and Matt in Philadelphia! But I remembered to bake you a few delicious morsels that you could enjoy while Chris and I are off on our grand USA adventure! Today I’m bringing you these tender, spiced muffins studded with creamy pistachios. My latest career aspiration: become The Muffin Woman. You know, the one who lives on Drury Lane? Okay, I don’t live on Drury Lane, but maybe I can become The Muffin Woman. Or the muffin and cookie woman? Or the muffin, cookie, and way-too-many-quinoa-salads woman? I think I’ll just stick with Moonlighting Food Blogger Woman. Who also happens to make lots of muffins. Because make muffins I do.I baked these beauties one Friday night in anticipation of a sweet, slow breakfast the next morning. The smell of baking spice and brown sugar wafting through the house was so tempting – and I managed to only gobble one of them down when they came out of the oven. The combination of creamy pistachios and hearty spiced chai is delightful and these muffins are definitely better on the second day. The spices settle and become more pronounced when they are cooled down, and the tops become slightly crispy-chewy while the crumb stays moist, fluffy, and soft. The chai taste here comes not from a mix of spices, but directly from the tea bag! You just cut open two chai tea bags and add them directly to the batter – direct flavour delivery!While these muffins taste decadent, they are actually secretly healthy! There’s only 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of oil in the whole recipe! The secret to great-tasting healthier muffins is to amp up the spice factor, and these Pistachio Chai Muffins deliver! They are also kept moist by a healthy dose of Greek yoghurt in the batter – another healthy muffin making secret. Pistachios are one of my favourite nuts, and these creamy green delights are both mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top. Put the kettle on my friends, pour yourself some chai and make a batch of muffins today!
Pistachio Chai Muffins
Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months
80 grams sorghum flour
80 grams white rice flour
80 grams brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 chai tea bags
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Greek (or natural) yoghurt
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and oil a 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin tin very thoroughly.
In a large bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the contents of the two tea bags.
In a medium bowl whisk together milk, yoghurt, oil, vanilla essence, egg and brown sugar until very well combined.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add 1/3 cup of pistachios and mix until distributed.
Divide mixture evenly between holes in pre-oiled muffin tin.
Roughly chop extra two tablespoons pistachios and sprinkle over the top of the uncooked muffins.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
Remove muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. To remove easily run a thin-bladed knife around the baked muffins to loosen them from the tin.
Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Yesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!This luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a talented and tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Sweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad. Sweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!I’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad
Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.
Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.
Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.