Tag Archives: muffin

Blueberry muffins for those blue days!

Yesterday I was languishing at home, feeling ill and sorry for myself. I decided there was only one thing for it…I needed to call upon the healing powers of baking! I ventured to the fridge with trepidation but was pleasantly surprised to find that, amongst other random items, I had butter, a carton of buttermilk, some eggs and a punnet of big fat juicy blueberries…they literally jumped out at me and begged me to make them into blueberry buttermilk muffins, which is exactly what I did…

How could something that gorgeous looking not make even the most self pitying, sadsack feel better?…

They were instantly rewarding and ever so easy to make. So if you ever find you’re having a blue day and want the quick fix of a bit of simple baking all you’ll need is…

400g plain flour

175g caster sugar

1tbsp baking powder

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1/2tsp salt

284ml carton buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

85g butter, melted

250g fresh or frozen blueberries or other summer fruits

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon rind and salt in a big bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs and butter.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and stir until (only just) combined. It’s important not to overmix it, for once you don’t have to be precious about leaving the batter lumpy. Lightly fold in the blueberries trying not to squash them.

Fill each of the paper cases generously and pop them in the oven for about 25 minutes. At this point they should have risen and be a delicious golden brown…

Leave them to cool in the tin for a few minutes before tuning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Go on…make your day!

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Rhubarb & Cardamom Muffins

Recently, during my daily igoogle check up, a recipe caught my eye and lured me to a blog called Kitchen Culinaire. It was for rhubarb cardamom breakfast muffins, which looked absolutely amazing. I printed it off and stashed it away for future use!

I love a bit of rhubarb and try to make at least one crumble during the rhubarb season. This year it’s seemed that rhubarb has been more popular than ever…I was even introduced to rhubarb bellini’s at a friends party recently. She had stewed the rhubarb with some sugar, passed it through a sieve, poured some into a glass and topped it up with champagne…simple yet divine!

I have been carrying the rhubarb muffin recipe around in my handbag for a couple of weeks now with the intention that next time I was in the supermarket I would buy the ingredients but I somehow kept getting waylaid. I was re-inspired by the fresh rhubarb on sale at Kinvara Farmers Market, on my recent trip to Ireland  but after prevaricating a bit too much, I returned to the stall only to find that it had all sold out! I didn’t let this put me off and yesterday I unearthed the somewhat crumpled recipe from the depths of my bag and got around to baking the little beauties!

Kitchen Culinaire is written by a Canadian lady and therefore all of the measurements are in cups, which is still a pretty alien concept to me but I managed to work it out with the help of Delia and her online conversion tables.

I also risked making a few substitutions, which actually worked really well. So here’s my version of the recipe…

Rhubarb & Cardamom Muffins

150g plain flour

150g wholemeal flour (I used self raising flour because that’s all I had in the cupboard and just halved the quantity of baking powder)

160g granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 fine sea salt

240ml creme fraiche (the original recipe used plain yoghurt)

8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I have never measured butter by tablespoon before so I just did my best to approximate 8 tablespoons worth)

2 large eggs

175g rhubarb cut into 1/4 inch dice (This worked out to be approx 2 stalks)

For the topping – 

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

My first hurdle came when my local supermarket didn’t stock ground cardamom. I was determined not to be put off and decided to grind my own…I slit open 25 cardamom pods, scraped out the seeds and ground them to a powder using good old fashioned elbow grease in a pestle and mortar. This made the perfect amount for this recipe (you need 1 tsp in total).

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the crème fraiche, melted butter and eggs in another bowl until smooth.

Lightly stir the liquids into the dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t over mix it or apparently the muffins will turn out very tough.

Stir in the diced rhubarb.

In a small bowl mix together the topping ingredients.

Divide the muffin mixture between the 12 cases (I actually made 13) and sprinkle over the sugar and cardamom topping. 

Bake for approx 20 minutes until they’re golden brown and a skewer/sharp knife comes out clean if plunged into the centre of one.

Allow to cool slightly and then tuck in!

They turned out to be incredibly moist and the fresh tartness of the rhubarb was balanced beautifully by the sweet, spicy topping. My rhubarb repertoire is looking pretty healthy.

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What to do with some leftover cheese and a day off work…

The title kind of gives away the fact that today I had both, a day off work and some leftover goats cheese and cheddar knocking around my fridge. I trawled my recipe books and found a recipe for savoury cheese muffins which I adapted slightly to become…

Savoury goats cheese, cheddar, red onion and rosemary muffins.

255g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

60g grated cheese ( I used half cheddar, half goats cheese)

1 egg

2tbsp white granulated sugar

120ml plain yoghurt

180ml milk

90ml vegetable oil

Grated cheese for topping

3tbsp fresh rosemary chopped finely

4tbsp red onion chopped finely 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. My recipe book said that these stick to paper cases more than sweet muffins so it might be best to use a muffin tin and grease it well. However I used my wonderful silicone cases – I don’t think it’s possible to get anything stuck to them!

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and grated cheese. 

In another bowl mix together the beaten egg, sugar, yoghurt, milk, oil, fresh herbs and onion.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix with a metal spoon but try to minimise on stirring.

Fill the muffin cases 3/4 full and top with grated cheese and sprig of rosemary.

Bake for about 20 minutes until brown. They are extra tasty fresh out of the oven. 

You don’t have to add the rosemary and onion but they compliment the cheesiness perfectly! mmmmmm cheese!

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