We love a bit of banana bread, in this house. I tend to make it on a Sunday, so that it’s ready to be sliced up through the week for daily snacking. Jason takes a slice or two to work with him for lunch-pudding (lunch-pudding is a thing you know, just like dinner-pudding and breakfast-pudding) and, along with a cup of English Breakfast, it’s my go-to way of curing a mid-afternoon sugar craving.

I love the humble-ness of banana bread. So much less assuming than cupcakes topped with two inches of frosting or those triple-layered creations that take four hours and five packs of butter to make- and kind of more delicious too. Recently I’ve been experimenting with my old faithful banana bread recipe, switching up ingredients and adding in extras and turning it into little muffins instead of a loaf cake. We had a few bananas hanging around in the kitchen last week that’d just tipped over into the realms of the unacceptably-speckled, and so I decided it was probably time to make up a batch of banana muffins. And then, streusel inspiration came. You can’t really go wrong when working with the ingredients of sugar, butter, flour, and cinnamon, and in this case, they combine to make a layer of sweet, spicy crumble that ramps up these humble muffins and makes them taste extra-special.

And let me just say too- these babies keep like a dream. They’ll last a good three or four days before starting to go dry, and if there are any still kicking around after then? Well, you know what to do. Go get that Nutella jar, and it’ll solve all your problems…

Banana-streusel-muffin-recipe   Banana-streusel-muffins

{Recipe makes approximately 18 muffins. Originally adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.}

Ingredients ::
Streusel ::
85g soft light brown sugar
50g cold butter
25g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Muffins ::
250 grams soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas
280grams plus an extra 25 grams of plain flour
1 tsp each baking powder + bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp each ground ginger + cinnamon, plus an extra half teaspoon of cinnamon
140 grams plus an extra 50g unsalted butter

- To make the streusel, put all of the ingredients into a bowl, and rub together. I started off using my fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients, then switched over to a pastry cutter. When the mixture looks like wet sand, put it into the fridge to chill whilst we get on with making the muffins.

- For the muffins, preheat the oven to 180 degrees, then melt the butter in a small saucepan and set it aside to cool a little. Put the sugar into a large bowl, crack in two eggs, and mix it all together until it’s smooth.

- Peel and mash the three bananas, and then stir them into the sugar and egg mixture. Add in the flour, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ground ginger, and cinnamon, and then stir it all together until it’s just combined.

- Slowly pour in the melted butter, mixing continuously as you go. Over mixing will make the muffins tough, so stop stirring just as soon as the butter’s all been incorporated. Line a muffin tray with paper liners, then fill each case about half full of batter.

- Sprinkle a small amount of streusel onto each muffin, and then put them into your preheated oven to cook for between 16-20 minutes, depending on your oven. I check them at 16, and usually find they need a minute or two longer.

- When cooked, the muffins will be a golden brown colour, and a cocktail stick poked into the centre of one should come out clean.



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Let’s start this week out with a simple loaf of bread. Proper bread- the good stuff- homemade, with a dark crackly crust and soft, tender crumb.

Soda bread is something of a revelation to me. I’d never tried it before making it down at River Cottage a couple of weeks back, and it has to be the easiest bread going. No kneading necessary to create flavour and structure (bicarbonate of soda plus some live yoghurt or buttermilk take care of all that for us), and it’s as delicious as it is quick to put together. I made this loaf a couple of days ago, and it’s still going strong as toasting-bread now! Soda bread has this amazing ability to taste intensely savoury and salty when served plain (and eaten with butter and other savoury toppings) and yet as soon as it’s smothered in jam or something equally sweet, its rich, dairy flavour comes out and it tastes almost cake-y! It’s kind of like a two-for-the-price-of-one recipe, and there’s nothing I love more than that!

The lovely folk at River Cottage have said that I can share their soda bread recipe here on Cider with Rosie, and I’m so very glad because it really is too good a recipe not to share! I must tell you, whilst we’re on the subject of bread, that all of the bread-making techniques I learnt down at River Cottage have been life-changing! We try to be quite moderate about how much bread we eat at home, and so I like to try and make from scratch any bread we do eat because we really want to make it count. This pizza here was made according to the techniques we were taught at River Cottage, and Jason categorically stated that it was the best pizza I’d ever made! And I’m certain I’ve tested pretty much every ‘best ever pizza dough’ recipe going and had Jason act as guinea pig for all of them, so that man knows his stuff!


Now, let me tell you the recipe for this beautiful soda bread! I’ve made a little video to go along with the recipe, so do give it a watch to see a step-by-step for how to make this most simple and heart-warming of loaves.

500g plain white flour {plus a little extra for dusting}
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp table salt
400ml buttermilk or live, whole fat yoghurt {plus a couple of extra tbsp milk if necessary}

- Preheat the oven on to 200 degrees celsius, and place a tray into the oven to heat up.

- Measure out 500 grams of plain white flour into a large bowl, then add in the 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda. Use a whisk to mix it all together, and get rid of any lumps in the flour.

- Stir in the teaspoon of salt, and mix that in with the flour. This recipe makes quite a salty bread, so you can dial back the salt by a quarter of a teaspoon or so if you’d like. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the centre of the flour.

- Measure out the 400 millilitres of buttermilk or live, whole fat yoghurt, and slowly pour it into the flour mixing as you go. If the mixture still feels particularly dry when it’s all been mixed in, add in milk a tablespoon at a time. The dough should be, as Hugh describes it, ‘just this side of sticky’.

- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and then shape it into a round. Transfer it onto a sheet of parchment paper, then firmly press the floured handle of a wooden spoon into the surface of the dough to get that distinctive soda bread cross!

- Slide the dough on its parchment paper onto the preheated tray, and then put it into the oven to cook for about 40 minutes. When cooked, the soda bread should be a dark golden brown colour, and will sound hollow when tapped on the base.

- Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then crack that baby open! It’s best eaten fresh on the day it’s baked, or toasted for a few days after that.

Cider-with-Rosie-River-Cottage-soda-bread Cider-with-Rosie-River-Cottage-soda-bread-2

Do tag me in on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag ‘#ciderwithrosiecooks’ if you have a go at making the loaf yourself, so that I (and River Cottage!) can take a look! I’d so love to see :) Thanks again to my friends at River Cottage for letting me share the recipe here. Oh, and for anyone who might fancy learning more about bread themselves, the course I took (with Boden, earlier on in July) featured elements from the Advanced Bread Making course. I can’t recommend it highly enough!


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Ahhh, these brownies. Made on a whim late one evening (after a sudden realisation that the following day was a day that called for brownies) and promptly deemed The Best Brownies I’ve Ever Made (according to my taster-in-chief-fiancé). It’s no secret that I’m a disciple of the Gospel of Nigella, and these are a riff on her foolproof (and completely incredible) Everyday Brownies. The recipe is a killer for many reasons, but this reason is my favourite one: They’re an absolute bargain to make!

For me, if a brownie recipe calls for 4+ bars of pricey, best-quality dark chocolate (as so many of them do), it immediately makes those brownies into a fancy dessert option, as opposed to the delightfully filthy afternoon treat I prefer them to be. I like my brownies to be as easy to put together and as affordable as they are dense and fudgy, and these tick every box. And on that note, we’re totally cheating on the caramel front in these babies. No boiling of cans of condensed milk, no melting+swirling+burning+fretting over pans of boiling sugar- just a bar (or box) of your favourite caramel filled milk chocolates. Chocolate connoisseurs look away now, because Galaxy caramel is my favourite to use.

Now, let’s get to that recipe!


^^ Would’ya take a look at that ooze? That’s the money shot right there. Jason and I often bicker over who gets to eat those extra-gooey centre slices of brownie ;) ^^


Ingredients ::
150g unsalted butter
300g light brown sugar
75g cocoa powder
150g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g of white chocolate & 12 squares of caramel chocolate.

-Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius, then measure out the butter into a large saucepan and melt over a medium heat.

- When it’s melted, turn the heat down low and stir in the sugar. Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of sofa and salt into a separate bowl. Stir it into the butter and sugar mixture, stopping just as soon as the flour and cocoa powder has been incorporated.

- Crack the four eggs into a jug, and whisk them together with the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour it into the rest of the brownie batter a little at a time, stirring between each addition.

- Chop up a bar of white chocolate into smallish chunks, and then stir them quickly into the brownie batter.

- Pour half of the batter into a 25 centimetre square baking dish lined with tinfoil, then spread it out flat. Press 12 squares of caramel filled chocolate into the batter, and then pour over the remaining brownie mixture and smooth over the top. Put the dish into the centre of the oven to cook for between 20 and 25 minutes. A 20 minute bake will give you really soft, squidgy brownies, and cooking them for slightly longer will make them more cakey and easier to slice.

- Allow the brownies to cool completely in their tin, and then slice them into 12 generous squares or about 16 more modest portions. These brownies will keep well for about 3 or 4 days if stored in an airtight container, but I’ve yet to make a batch that’s lasted longer than 48 hours!


Shall we have a sharing of favourite brownie recipes in the comments? Or maybe, a sharing of what kind of additions make a brownie go from good to great. Next batch I make, I’m thinking about maybe adding a little peppermint flavour, or perhaps some peanut butter…


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When I was about 17, I went through a phase of being totally hooked on these incredible spinach and feta filo pasties that my Mum’s lovely Bosnian friend used to make me. I could’ve eaten them all day long. Even at breakfast time! I mean, they were made of carbs, and veg, AND dairy! What’s not to love? I remember them as having the most richly savoury flavour- with salty cheese and irony spinach all wrapped up in a few layers of fine filo pastry. These pasties of mine are an homage to those ones from years ago- an English twist on traditional Mediterranean ‘spanakopita’ pastries.

We’ve been eating a fair few pasties, lately. I started off experimenting with sweet potato fillings, then moved on to cheddar cheese + potato + onion combos, and now have settled on this spinach, feta and nutmeg filling as my absolute favourite. We eat them for light weekend lunches, and fast weekday dinners, and last weekend my Mum and I wrapped up a couple and ate them in the car whilst halfway round the M25. Two words for you on that scenario : Crumbs. Everywhere.

I’ve made this recipe into a little video instead of a photo series for a change, because why on earth not! And it only took about 5 times as long as shooting a set of photos does! ;) Oh, it was a labour of love for sure!


{Makes around 5 large pasties (as shown), or cut the pastry rounds smaller to make mini pasties}

300g plain flour
150g cold unsalted butter
250g spinach
200g feta cheese
1 egg + 1 extra yolk
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
A couple of pinches of salt

- Cut the butter up into roughly 1/2 inch cubes, then add to the flour along with a pinch of salt. Place the bowl into the fridge for about 10 minutes which we get on with making the spinach (chilling the ingredients will help the pastry get really nice and flaky later on).

- Add the spinach to a frying pan along with a drizzle of olive oil, a smashed garlic clove, pinch of salt, and quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Place over a low heat, & heat gently until the spinach is completely wilted.

- Drain into a sieve, and then spend a good few minutes squeezing *all* of the liquid out so that it doesn’t make the pastry go soggy later on. When it’s as dry as you can make it, spread it out onto a plate to cool.

- Take the bowl containing the butter and flour out of the fridge, and begin mixing in iced water a couple of tablespoons at a time. Keep stirring and adding in iced water (take care not to drop in any ice cubes!) and stop mixing just as soon as the dough clumps together in a rough ball. Tip it out onto a well floured surface, and press in any loose bits of dough and flour.

-  Flour your rolling pin, and begin rolling out the dough into a long rectangle. When the dough’s about a centimetre thick, take the bottom of the rectangle and fold the bottom third of the pastry over the middle third, and then take the top third of the pastry and fold it over the top of that. Rotate the dough by 90 degrees, and then repeat the rolling, folding, and turning process another 5 times.

- The dough will still have visible streaks of butter in when you’re finished, but will be smooth and coherent in texture. The streaks of butter are what will give the pastry layers of flakiness when cooked! Wrap the pastry dough in cling film, and then put in the fridge to relax for half an hour.

- Whilst the dough chills and relaxes, roughly chop the cooled spinach, and then put it into a bowl and crumble in the feta. Add in one egg yolk, and then stir to combine. Give the mixture a taste, and add in any extra seasoning (salt, pepper, lemon zest) if you feel it needs it!

- After the dough has had half an hour in the fridge, take it out and roll it until it’s about 5 millimetres thick. Cut around a small bowl (or use a smaller cutter, if you’re making mini pasties) and then place the pastry rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I rerolled the scraps of pastry partway through cutting out the rounds, and got 5 fairly large pasties from this batch.

- Place a heaping dessert spoonful of the filling into the centre of each pasty, then brush the edge with a little beaten egg. Fold over the pastry, and use your hands to press the edges closed and to remove any air from the pasty. Crimp the edges closed with a fork, then make a small hole in the body of the pasty to let out steam. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt, then put in an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius or 350 degrees fahrenheit and cook for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is a light golden colour. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, and then dive on in!

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