The secret to surviving the winter

Spoiler alert: its butternut soup. At least in my opinion.

Now I know soup is sometimes a bit of a controversial subject, and some people don’t like it at all, but I like it a lot and my mom has been making butternut soup for us for a very long time and its very nostalgic for me. It has been so cold the past few days, so I decided to try my hand at making some of my own. Soup is actually surprisingly easy to make – the hardest part is chopping the vegetables (which could be solved by buying them pre-chopped, but I wouldn’t recommend this because of the unnecessary plastic packaging)

Ingredients

800ml vegetable stock (made to package instructions with boiling water)

600g butternut, peeled and chopped

1 clove of garlic or 1tsp garlic powder (or to taste, whatever floats your boat)

1 large onion, diced

1tsp curry powder (or to taste)

Oil

Method

In a large saucepan, heat up the oil on medium heat and saute the onions until translucent. Add in the curry powder and garlic and mix until the curry has coated the onions. Allow this to cook for a few moments before adding in the cubed butternut and the liquid stock.

Bring to a boil and allow to cook until the butternut is soft. When it’s tender, transfer the butternut and liquid to a blender (you might have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your blender) and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and blend it in the saucepan.

Now that all your soup is blended and smooth, you can either heat it up again and eat it straight away, or store it in tubs in the freezer until there is another cold day where a warming and comforting soup is needed.

This recipe is quick to make and really easy, and you get a really delicious soup at the end!

 

soup sixsoup two

 

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Muffins Done Right: Quick and Easy Vegan Treats

And I’m back! Quicker than I thought too. This morning was spent in the kitchen, trying to “vegan-ise” a recipe my mom has been making for years. The result: simple muffins that you can flavour in any way you’d like. Throughout my childhood, my mom often made us apple and cinnamon muffins early in the morning for our lunchboxes, which shows how quick and easy this recipe is.


Today I’ve made apple pie inspired muffins (similar to what my mom used to make) and yummy, fudgy dark chocolate peanut butter muffins.

Both muffins have the same base, which is really easy to make – just mix the following ingredients together thoroughly:

350g all-purpose or cake flour

150g sugar

15ml baking powder

250ml plant milk of your choice (I used almond milk)

2 chia eggs (30ml of chia seeds mixed with 90ml water – let it sit until the seeds become gelatinous and thick)

100ml coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the apple pie inspired muffins, finely chop one apple, a handful of pecan nuts or walnuts, and a handful of cranberries. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grab yourself a big bowl, wooden spoon, kitchen scale and measuring jug. Weigh out all your base ingredients and mix them all together until well combined. Add in the apples, nuts and cranberries and fold them into the mixture.

 

Line your muffin tin and scoop mixture until them so that they’re three-quarters full. Pop them in the oven for just fifteen minutes.

Vegan Muffins 3


The chocolate muffins are slightly different – there are the added ingredients of 75ml of cocoa for a dark chocolate taste, plus extra milk to thin the mixture, and dark chocolate chips

Add the cocoa in with the flour and other dry ingredients so that it’s mixed in properly – you don’t want little pockets of cocoa when you bite into the muffin. Mix everything together – I found that the mixture was quite a bit thicker than the other muffins because of the cocoa, so add in milk until the mixture is thin enough. Once again, either line or grease your muffin tins and pour the mixture in. Bake for 15 minutes.

Drizzle some peanut butter over the top of the muffin once cooled (if that’s your thing) or enjoy them as they are – delicious and chocolatey, with a brownie-like consistency.

Vegan Muffins 9

I hope you enjoy making these recipes, they’re super easy and quick and a really nice vegan alternative to ordinary muffins.

See you soon!

Feeling Stuck

I probably sit in front of my laptop 15 times a week with the intention of writing a blog post. And every time, I turn away with nothing accomplished. I seem to be stuck, with plenty of ideas and no drive to take these ideas to completion. Motivation is hard to find, and I seem to have lost mine. The solution, I think, could be to start fresh, and give myself a clean slate. That doesn’t mean that I’m deleting everything and pretending that it didn’t happen, rather, I’m making the decision to improve upon my efforts, in many of the spheres of my life. More time to be spent simply writing, more time dedicated to doing my best in school, and more time spent being the best person I can be for myself.

If you know me, you know I’m quite bad at replying to messages and being on top of my social media. I can spend hours on my phone a day and completely ignore messages. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes I don’t have the energy to be social and engage with people. It’s so hard these days to cut off any form of social media, as we’ve become so accustomed to being engaged and being able to contact people at any time and expect a reply almost immediately. This is something I’d like to explore more on the blog in the next few months, as exams will be coming up sooner than we all think and it’s so easy to waste valuable time on our phones. Even easier is to become fatigued and overwhelmed by the expectation of being constantly available, to the detriment of your own mental health and your studies.

On that note, a to-do list:

  • Be more present – less time on my phone and more time reading or doing anything else
  • A blog makeover (things are looking a little pink and I’m not sure how that happened)
  • Make a conscious effort to reply to messages and be there for people

I’ve been at home for a week now, and I still haven’t been able to get my life together enough to post here. I’ve had tons of ideas and been in the kitchen almost constantly, but I’ve mostly been trying other peoples recipes and not trying my own creations. This week hopefully I’ll be trying out some of my own recipes and getting those up soon!

Today I Made: Vegan Lemon Bars

Hey there everyone! If you’re seeing this, it means you’re on catherineandcranberries.com – that’s right, catherineandcranberries.wordpress.com is no more, and we’ve moved on to bigger and better things! I decided to invest in my own domain, which was only possible because so many of you have shown your support, which I’m very grateful for.


Now that I’m back at home (at last!) I can really get back into making all sort of delicious foods, the first being these vegan lemon bars or cookies. The recipe is based on another favourite biscuit that I make often, but substituting for plant-based ingredients. 

Today’s recipe is one I created myself, and is accompanied by a video! It’s been a while since I filmed and edited anything, but it’s something to look forward to on Catherine and Cranberries as I hope to be able to put together more in the future.



Ingredients:

Bars:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 5 tablespoons icing sugar

Method:

First, you’re going to start by creaming the coconut oil and the brown sugar. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice to this mixture.

Sift the flour and baking soda into the wet ingredients, and mix until a crumbly mixture forms. Add the almond milk, and combine, using your hands to help it form into a dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the fridge for ten minutes.

Use this time to make the glaze by combining the ingredients and mixing thoroughly. 

Press the mixture into a lined baking tray and bake for sixteen minutes. Let it cool completely before icing it. 

Here is the nutritional information for this bake! 

Marmalade isn’t​ just for toast: Marmalade Cake

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for my mom’s marmalade here, with the promise of a recipe for a very easy marmalade cake coming soon – and here it is! It’s delicious, incredibly easy to make and takes very little time to put together.


Ingredients:

175g softened butter or margarine
175g castor sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1tsp baking powder
3 tbsp marmalade
200g self-raising flour


Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well until the mixture is creamy.  Spoon the mixture into a lined 20cm ring tin or small loaf tin. into the prepared tin (20cm ring tin) and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack. When it’s cool, sprinkle some icing sugar over the top and a little lemon or orange zest. Serve plain or with some whipped cream.

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I hope you all have great success with the recipe and learn to appreciate marmalade even though it may not be your favourite spread for toast!


Pin to your recipes board on Pinterest:

Marmalade Cake

Marmalade your day

Marmalade was never my favourite spread for toast. But, the strong influences of Paddington Bear and my dad meant that I slowly acquired a taste for this tart and delicious preserve. It reminds me of home, especially as my mom can often be found making another batch with whichever citrus is currently ripe in our garden.

My mom’s recipe is very easy to make and doesn’t take up too much time at all. The preparation of the fruit is the most labour intensive part of this recipe, but once everything is chopped up, all it needs is time on the stove.


Ingredients:

1 part Citrus of your choice

1 part Water

1 part Sugar


Method:

  • Start by washing the fruit of your choice. At home, we make our marmalade with a variety of citrus, including lemons, Rex Union oranges, grapefruit and Pamplemousse.
  • Slice the fruit into quarters and remove the pips and centre pith.  Squeeze the juice into a measuring jug before you chop the quarters into smaller pieces.  Slice the quarters thinly and place them in a large measuring jug.
  • For every jug of chopped fruit and juice, you will need a jug of water. Place the full jug of fruit and juice, as well as the jug of water into a large thick-based pot.
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  • Put the pot on the stove and cook slowly until the fruit is soft. You’ll know its ready when a wooden spoon can cut through the rind.
  • Then add one measuring jug of sugar for every jug of fruit into the pot. It’s important that you only add the sugar when the fruit is already cooked soft, otherwise, it won’t soften at all. Cook the fruit while stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Continue cooking until the marmalade reaches setting point. To test this, place a spoonful of marmalade on a saucer in the fridge and check for when the mixture wrinkles when the saucer is tilted – indicating its setting point.
  • Now it is ready to bottle in sterilised glass bottles.


Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoy making some delicious homemade marmalade. If you don’t think that you like marmalade, do not despair – very soon there will be a recipe for marmalade cake! Yum!

Pin this recipe for later use!

Marmalade

Ten Minute Hummus and an Easy Weekend Lunch

I recently discovered hummus through a friend, and I am absolutely converted! I can’t believe that I have been missing out on this delicious, and incredibly versatile food. Ready-made hummus seems to be quite expensive, so I searched all over Pinterest (click here to go to my Pinterest) until I found a whole bunch of different recipes. The common thread is chickpeas, either tinned or cooked by yourself, tahini and seasoning.

After some trial and error I think I’ve managed to get a pretty good recipe down, and its very easy to make if you have a food processor or blender


In a food processor or blender, add the following:

  • one tin of drained chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup of tahini
  • 1tsp crushed garlic or garlic powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • paprika to taste
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil (or more if your hummus is too thick – it’s really up to you!)

Blend everything together – it’s as simple as that.


Hummus is so handy to have in the fridge and makes a delicious dip for veggies, toasted pita bread or whatever your heart desires. However, my favourite way to enjoy hummus is with toasted whole wheat bread, avocado, tomato and boiled eggs. Delicious!

Pin this recipe to your Pinterest!

HUMMUS

Thanks for reading! There will be more posts coming soon, including a delicious marmalade cake that everyone will enjoy (even if they don’t like marmalade!)

Today I Made: Tomato and Chilli Jam

Spoiler alert: It is delicious.

I found a recipe on a blog called Spicy Ice Cream and simply had to make it. I love love love sweet chilli sauce, but I discovered how much sugar was in it and had to give it up. This recipe calls for a lot less sugar, meaning that this tomato and chilli jam is a lot more healthy.

CHILLI_DSC0056

I was forced to alter the original recipe a little bit, as I didn’t have all the ingredients that I needed. If you click the link above, you’ll be able to see the original recipe but here is what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Roma tomatoes
  • 1 and 3/4 cups castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 red chillies of choice

Method:

First, chop your tomatoes (I chopped mine into quite large pieces and found that they cooked down very nicely, but you can chop them as small as you’d like) and your chillies. Add them, and the other ingredients to a big pot over a low to medium heat. Slowly bring the heat up to ensure that all the sugar has dissolved, and then boil the mixture. Mix the jam frequently and wait for it to thicken up a bit, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Take the pot off the stove and allow to cool a little while to prepare your jars. Do this by rinsing them in very hot water and then placing them in a hot oven until they are dry and sterilised. Pour the jam into the jars and seal immediately. Store it in a cool, dry place for up to three months (if you can hold off from eating it for that long!)

CHILLI_DSC0101.JPG

When I made a second batch of jam, I used baby tomatoes that my dad grows in his veggie garden. This meant that they didn’t cook down quite as much – so I used a hand blender and made a much smoother jam that is almost the consistency of store-bought sweet chilli sauce. Yum!

CHILLI_DSC0048

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This jam is honestly so tasty and is super good served with cheese and crackers, or mixed into cream cheese to make a dip for chips.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Stick around for more recipe posts, especially now that I’m on holiday from varsity.