June 18, 2011

500 Breakfast & Brunch Dishes : A Review, Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins And A Giveaway! (Also Announcing The Winner Of The Previous One)

So far, June has been a crazy month for me though the rest of the month promises to make by being fun. The “craziness” had nothing to do with food, wasn’t particularly of the earth shaking kind and was only of importance to me so I shan’t bore you all with it. Most of my cooking this month has been pretty routine stuff and I’ve had very little time or energy to get creative in the kitchen or with the camera.

In fact, on many days, our lunches and dinners have consisted of one dish meals that I have just unimaginatively thrown together with whatever I could lay my hands on when I opened my fridge or looked at my kitchen cupboards/ shelves. No one has complained so far, and I’m just happy that my family is putting up with what I have been dishing out (literally and figuratively) that I haven’t dared to ask for feedback!

This month has had its “highlights” including Harini’s visit with her family and my sister coming down for a short stay and both of them bringing me the kind of stuff that would more than gladden a food blogging photographer’s heart. My husband also very sportingly offered to take my present camera off my hands and replace that with a slightly more advanced version, so I really couldn’t ask for more.

I have been baking on and off, since the rains are here and its so much cooler these days. One of things I baked about 10 days back was some “Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins”. I know they are not exotic, unusual and perhaps quite an ordinary thing to bake. They are worth mentioning for 2 reasons. The first is just me as we don’t get blueberries here and they’re a bit of a novelty, though I understand they’re available in some of the fancy stores in Mumbai at exorbitantly high prices.

Madhuli (a fellow food blogger and friend) recently sent me some blueberries, macadamia nuts and Nasik raisins so the blueberries were just calling out to be used. Also I had these really pretty cupcake liners Finla had sent me which I have been hoarding for 4 months now!
The second reason is that these muffins are not just easy to make but so good, they just had to be blogged!

This recipe is one of the many in the book, 500 Breakfasts & Brunch Dishes by Carol Beckerman. Sellers Publishing recently sent me a review copy of the book and I can assure the book has some excellent recipes some of which can be served not just for breakfast or brunch.
These muffins, for example, would make an excellent after school snack.
Now I am an absolute breakfast person and will never ever skip this meal no matter what. I might do without lunch or dinner but there’s no way I could start my day on an empty stomach.
The only thing is that, being Indian, our breakfasts tend be savoury rather than sweet except for the odd day when we have pancakes, French toast or something similar.
In our home, things like muffins, pastries and sandwiches are usually snacking material or tea time fare.

This book is one of the 500 Series of books which have become a favourite of mine. As can be expected from the books in this series, this one also has colour coded chapters, concisely written and easy to follow recipes with beautiful photographs accompanying each one.

This particular book opens with an Introduction that talks about the types of breakfasts eaten around the world, the ingredients commonly used in the book as well as techniques involved in making muffins, pancakes, crepes and bread. The recipes are divided into chapters on Drinks, Smoothies & Yogurt; Cereals & Breakfast Bars; Breads; Pastries & Muffins; Eggs; Pancakes, Waffles & French Toast; Big Plates; Sides & Sandwiches.


Do you think you like the sound of Spiced Hot Coffee or a Rich & Creamy Hot Chocolate on a cold morning, Pumpkin Swirl Bread, Parmesan & Pine Nut Muffins, Chunky Monkey Pancakes, Almond Waffles With Apricot Sauce, Overnight Caramel Pecan French Toast, Kedgeree, Chilli Cheese breakfast Casserole, Wild Rice Cakes or Breakfast Burritos?
Then maybe this book is for you.

The book’s author, Carol Beckerman, is a freelance food write breakfast recipe developer. She used to run the kitchen for a traditional English pub, has catered large events and weekly neighborhood breakfast parties in the United States. She now chooses to cooks and bakes for local restaurants and has a site devoted to dairy-free cooking.

Here’s the recipe from the book for “Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins”. As the author says, “ The trick to making perfect muffins is to combine the wet ingredients from one bowl into the dry ingredients in another bowl as lightly and quickly as possible”.
You might notice that the chocolate chips on my muffins are a bit browned. That's because I left them in the oven for about 3 minutes longer than I should have. Any longer and they would have burnt! But this browning, luckily for me, lent my chocolate chips a really nice caramel-like taste.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)

1 cup fresh blueberries (I used dried ones)

2 large eggs

6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 1/8 cups buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar, white chocolate and blueberries.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and then whisk in the melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and quickly pour the in the wet ingredients.Stir quickly and lightly until just combined. It does not matter if there are a few lumps and dry bits.
Spoon quickly into muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden, firm to the touch, and well risen. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.
This recipe makes 12 muffins.

The Giveaway!

Sellers Publishing, as always, also sent me a second copy of 500 Breakfasts & Brunch Dishes to giveaway to one lucky reader of my blog. You can take a look at some of the recipes (and photographs) in the book in case you are wondering whether you really want to take a chance at leaving a comment to win the book.

So what do you have to do to try your luck here?
Just leave a comment at this post telling me what is your/ your family’s favourite breakfast food. Please ensure you also leave a link to your blog or a mail id or some way I can get in touch with you should you be the lucky winner.

The giveaway is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike, and I will be happy to ship worldwide. This giveaway is open for a week till the 25th of June, 2011.

Do keep watching this space as I do have another book to give away very soon.


And Finally, The Winner Of The Previous Giveaway Is…………………

I had previously announced that I would be randomly picking one lucky person from the comments left at this post to win this cookbook. That lucky person who gets the copy of Kashmiri Cuisine Through The Ages by Sarla Razdan is Mary who blogs at Mary Mary Culinary.

Congratulations! Please mail me your postal address so I can send you the book.


Pinky said...

Hi Aparna,

Gt ur name right this i time.breakfast is a imp 4 us and as u have mentioned it is usually on the savoury side.We at home like Idli Chutney Sambhar as a ideal breakfast for weekends. Would luv to receive the book n try the recipes.

I have recently opened a food blog of mine and the 1st post is a recipe i had seen on ur site.

Do visit my blog