Thursday, December 8, 2011

Xmas morning muffins {Recipe}

The pirate party is over and we're finally into the swing of the Xmas season here at Di-licious HQ.

On Monday, Olive had her Kinder Xmas concert.  Fifty-five children dressed up in festive colours belted out the special songs they'd been secretly rehearsing in their bedrooms for past five weeks.

Olive off to the kinder Xmas concert with a plate of little Di-licious Gingerbread men.

This week I thought I'd offer up a suggestion to take along to a Xmas themed morning tea.  I'm on playgroup duty tomorrow with my darling friend Lisa and we've planned some gorgeous xmas crafts.  The duty roster also means we're in charge of morning tea so today I'm keeping it simple by baking up Nigella's Christmas Morning Muffins.

Orange and cranberries scented with fresh nutmeg are a fabulous flavour combination that just shout Xmas. Muffins are quick to whip up (important at this time of year) and if you measure out the dry ingredients on Xmas eve, you could easily whip these up on Xmas morning for a leisurely breakfast in front of the tree with a cup of coffee.

I like that these muffins aren't overly sweet.  You could happily follow Nigella's suggestion of serving them with unsalted butter and marmalade.  [I just now realised that I forgot to add the cinnamon sugar on top.  Whoops....]

For convenience I've substituted the melted butter with olive oil (one less step). I also decided to add the zest of the orange to the mix as well as a half teaspoon of cinnamon and cardamom. That's the kind of girl I am. The choice is entirely up to you.

Olive and I picked a new tree decoration each this year - the cupcake for me and the Nutcracker for her.

Olive and I also finally decked the halls at home today - goodbye Jolly Rodgers and hello Christmas tree!  We also created a new tradition - sitting down to watch Olive the Other Reindeer after trimming the tree.

The strings of Norwegian flags are a traditional tree decoration for Xmas,

On a personal note, life has gotten a little more hectic than usual this week.  My mum had a fall and managed to break both her hip and wrist.

I've been at the hospital almost every night this week so baking and writing Xmas cards have slipped down the priority list and I've been absent from The Mummy Di-alogue and Facebook as well.  We're not sure she'll make it to Olive's ballet concert two weeks away but optimistic she'll be hone for Xmas.  

All of a sudden wishes for good health in the new year have taken on a new level of importance.

What do you eat for breakfast on Xmas morning?

Recipe: Christmas Morning Muffins
Recipe by Nigella Lawson (How to be a Domestic Goddess)  Makes 12 regular sized muffins

1 1/3 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
good grating of fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1//2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
juice and zest (optional) of one small orange or clementine
approx 1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted or 1/4cup olive oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried cranberries - this makes for heavily fruited muffins

For topping:
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


  1. Load up the CD player with your favourite Xmas tunes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.  Line 12 cup muffin tray with baking cups.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and spices.
  4. Squeeze juice into a measuring cup  and then pour enough milk on top till it comes to the 3/4 cup mark.
  5. Mix together milk, juice, butter and egg - beat until well combined.
  6. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. (Remember that a lumpy batter make light muffins!)
  7. Finally stir through the cranberries.
  8. Spoon mixture into baking cups.
  9. Mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
  10. Bake regular sized muffins for approximately 20mins (mini muffins for approximately 12 minutes) or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  11. Allow to cool slightly before serving - as they are or like Nigella, still warm and slathered with unsalted butter and marmalade.
  12. If making ahead, allow muffins to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Muffins can be happily frozen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The pirate birthday party

Arrrrghhhhh! Captain Olive and her scurvy crew of pirates celebrated on the high seas this weekend with a Pirate Birthday Party to remember.

Mr Di-licious and I had a lot of fun putting it all together - from making the bunting and treasure bags to constructing the 'Pirate's Den' and last but not least the food.

Captain Olive
The Pirate Barbie Cake
Olive's birthday cake this year brought together four of her favourite things: Barbie, pirates, cake and chocolate. The vanilla buttercake was filled with blackberry jam and vanilla buttercream before being swathed in chocolate ganache and the chocolate fondant skirt.

I found the Barbie pirate costume on eBay and had it shipped over from the US.

So what do you feed a horde of hungry pirates?

Pirate Party Menu

Fish finger boats
Octopus frankfurts

Pirate hat Oreo pops
Buried treasure chocolate crackles
Chocolate dipped [pretzel] swords

Pirate Barbie cake

Tropical punch

The Pirate Hat Oreo pops disappeared very quickly!

Buried Treasure chocolate crackles....a timeless classic

The mini pirates really enjoyed playing What's the time Captain Hook? and walking the plank to get their farewell treasure loot bag.

Walking the plank!

Happy 4th birthday Olive!
Playing What's the Time Captain Hook
Pirate HQ
Ready to sail the high seas!
The take home loot bag filled with chocolate gold coins

A special  big thank you to all our wonderful guests, family and friends who helped make it such an amazing day.  A pirate theme is immensely popular and Olive still loves to don the hat and wave her sword while saying "Arrrggghhhh!!!"

What's your favourite birthday party theme?