Spiced pumpkin and walnut muffins


These little guys look very rustic but geez they taste good.

A friend dropped in the other day.  Luckily, I had some muffins in the freezer so it was just a matter of zapping them for a few seconds to create an impromptu morning tea.  The situation reinforced to me how useful a few muffins the freezer can be.  When my friend left, I thought I would grab the opportunity to replenish our supply.

The trick with muffins is to combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients with a minimum of mixing.  The mixture may look lumpy, but as long as the dry ingredients are incorporated, the mixing is complete.

This recipe comes from a wonderful little booklet entitled Muffin Magic by Diana Linfoot.  Diana is from Western Australia.  The book was published in 1989 when muffins were all the rage.  Everyone seemed to have this booklet at the time – maybe it was just a Perth thing, I am not sure.

There are piles of muffin recipes in the booklet and then there are variations on the theme.  This recipe is one of the variations on the basic pumpkin muffin recipe.


Wet mixture:

  • ¼ cup butter (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup golden syrup (The recipe actually called for treacle but I had golden syrup in the cupboard so that is what I used.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (according to a note, the puree is made from 300g of pumpkin cooked in ¼ cup of liquid.  I had some pumpkin puree in the freezer, so I used that.)
  • ¼ cup milk (This is not in the recipe but I found I needed it and looking at the weird shape of my muffins, I could have added a bit more.  See how you go, and use as much milk as you need.)

Dry mixture:

  • 2½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp bi carb (baking) soda
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts


  • Equal parts cinnamon and sugar (about ½ tsp of each) mixed together.


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and prepare your muffin pans.
  2. Mix together, the butter, sugar and golden syrup.
  3. Beat in the eggs and then the pumpkin puree.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients (except the walnuts) together.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  6. Stir in the walnuts.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans.
  8. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  9. Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

Thai beef salad


I have been eating too much rich food lately.  So much so, when Maus asked me what I wanted for dinner the other night, I said ‘a salad’.  A salad was not possible that night because we had just come back to Perth and we were yet to go shopping – I had peanut paste on toast instead.  :(   But before going to bed, I went into the the study to run my eyes over my cookbooks.  They landed on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.  Gee, I must have felt weighed down! Continue reading



I have often mentioned the Leander Group of roses.  Now is the time to meet the rose after which the group was named.

David Austin decided to develop a group of roses that, whilst their flowers were of the old rose type, their foliage and growth had more modern rose character.  For this purpose, he turned to the modern climbers related to the Wichurana ramblers, by way of New Dawn.  He decided on Aloha (bred by Boerner in 1949) as the foundation parent for the Group. Continue reading

Tuscan Sun


Tuscan Sun  is a modern Floribunda rose with large flowers that are carried in small clusters.  It has deep apricot buds that open to stunning high-centred blooms of hybrid tea form.  They are bronze/orange/apricot in the centre with coppery pink outer petals.  They finish a coppery pink.  The blooms are 10 cm wide, have 25 petals and are borne on long, strong stems which makes them perfect for the vase.  As a bonus, they last well as a cut flower. Continue reading

In My Kitchen – December 2014


In my kitchen:

Are edible rose petals.  I could not believe my eyes when I spied these at our local supermarket, Blackwood Fresh.  I love that shop.  Bridgetown is so blessed having a shop that sells such a wonderful range of products.  There is much more variety in that small, country supermarket than you could ever get in Coles or Woolworths.

My rose petals will look delightful on the many Middle Eastern desserts I like to make. Continue reading

Tahini cookies


I was reading Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem not so long ago and the preamble to his recipe for tahini cookies.  It appears a few years ago, tahini cookies were all the rage in Israel.  I had never heard of them but was interested as Ottolenghi advised they taste like halva, which I absolutely adore. The association makes sense because halva is made with tahini and sugar, two key ingredients in these yummy biscuits. Continue reading

Spicy cranberry nut tea bread


I am always flicking through cookbooks and reading recipes but this time I had a purpose.  My sister Sandra’s friend, Merle, had given me some cookbooks to look through and either keep or send to the Op Shop.  This book had been earmarked for the Op Shop but two recipes in it appealed.  One was ‘brown sugar biscuits’ and the other was this spiced tea bread (nut loaf).  Maus likes a bit of cake with her butter so I was keen to try the nut loaf.

Continue reading