Orange and wattleseed muffins

Are you across wattleseed?

It is brilliant, and what’s more; an Australian native. What could be better than cooking with plants that are native to your own backyard? Though there are hundreds of species of Acacia, only a few are useful in the culinary world. The one I’ve heard used most frequently isĀ Acacia victoriae, and in this case, it is roasted and ground. In this form, it can be used to make a delicious brew – often called wattleseed ‘tea’ – with a taste kind of similar to coffee (but not quite…)

Last week I was pondering the change of season, and the somewhat scarce selection of fruit that comes with winter. It’s citrus, really… oranges, mandarines, lemons, limes. That’s not to say that other fruits aren’t available. Supermarkets make sure of that. But I’m really keen to pursue local and seasonal produce, and with that comes a brilliant opportunity for creativity, especially when your favourite ingredients aren’t around. I’m also going to mention here, that I’ve recently come into a supply of small-batch-milled wholemeal flour courtesy of my lovely boy’s family farm in the Clare Valley. This is pretty well as close as I will ever get to home-grown wheat/flour, which is a tad exciting. I also retrieved some oranges from the tree at said boy’s house this morning, which leads me back nicely to the citrus. So I was contemplating the potential pairings with orange, and my mind went to the packet of wattleseed laying almost forgotten in the meat safe. After some quick consultation, I was assured that this combination would work, so I set about figuring out what makes a good vegan muffin.

I have to admit to being pretty pleased with the result here. Light and fluffy muffins that are not too sweet – great with a bit of butter/spread as a breakfast or morning/afternoon tea treat. The orange and wattleseed actually go really well together. Being a flavour that can’t really be described, I suggest you find yourself some wattleseed and give it a try. They are also vegan and very low in fat, if these are qualities you seek in a muffin. Otherwise, feel free to substitute with milk if you have a cow etc. Happy seasonal baking!

Orange and wattleseed muffins

2 cups wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tablespoons ground, roasted wattleseed
approx 1/4 cup applesauce*
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup soy or other non-dairy milk
1/2 cup orange juice – (approximately one large orange)
rind of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract

*To make instant applesauce, combine one apple (cored and roughly chopped) with 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor until smooth. This yields the correct quantity for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 180C and grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.
Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and wattleseed in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
In a small bowl, mix applesauce, sugar, soy milk, orange juice, orange rind and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and well combined.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and whisk together until combined.
Spoon mixture into muffin pans until 3/4 full, then bake for 18 minutes or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

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Ginger pumpkin brownies.

I wrote a post last year (here) about ginger pumpkin brownies. After posting a photo on facebook yesterday of some I baked for a friend, a few peeps have asked for the recipe. This is good because I really should have posted it in the first place. So thanks friends for the motivation!

This recipe comes courtesy of Frankie Magazine, via my wonderful friend Gail.

Though I have only ever made it using happy eggs (the kind that come from happy, useful and valued home chickens), I don’t doubt you could make the recipe vegan with your preferred egg replacement (mine is the chia egg).

I also replace butter with a non-dairy alternative; usually nuttlex, but I think coconut oil would work well too (virgin, NOT extra-virgin).

This recipe also has the greatest method for melting chocolate I have ever encountered. Such a win.

Happy baking, friends :)

Ginger pumpkin brownies

250g peeled, seeded pumpkin, chopped into chunks
250g butter (or alternative), diced
250g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
150g wholemeal spelt flour – kind to wheat sensitive tummies (I just use regular wholemeal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup crystallised ginger**, roughly chopped

**I think this is a pretty good recipe for crystallised ginger, but feel free to use whatever method you like.

Steam or boil the pumpkin until tender, then mash to a smooth puree. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a brownie pan (about 20cm x 30cm).

Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and melt gently by putting it into the warming oven. Keep an eye on it – t will take 5 – 10 minutes. This is a stress free, easy way of melting chocolate without having to worry about double boilers and the like. Let it cool slightly to room temperature.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until combined and thick, then beat in the cooled chocolate and butter. Add the pumpkin and stir to combine. Sift over the flour, baking powder, salt and spices and throw in ginger, then fold in gently. Don’t be too enthusiastic: you want it mixed, not beaten to death.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minuts. Timing is everything with brownies – you want them firm at the edges, but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Leave them in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack before cutting into bars or squares as you see fit.

Dust with icing sugar if you please.