Category Archives: Muffins

Chocolate and Avocado Muffins

chocolate-and-avocado-muffins-0740Last week went past so fast that I have realised only today that I was due to write a couple of posts on this blog. I have quite a few recipes to choose from, and I was about to start a new one. However during my visit to the veggie store this morning, my trusty greengrocer commented on the new cover photo on my Facebook page. It also follows nicely from the savoury ones I posted before this one. (Just for my lovely readers to know, you can now also find me on Instagram, where I also happened to post a similar snap almost four months ago to this date.)

They say that practice makes perfect, and I need a lot of practice when it comes to muffins. I cannot complain about the recipes I try, because I know they’re good and so easy to whip up. They are also life-savers when unexpected guests show up for a spot of tea and cake.

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Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Muffins

sun-dried-tomato-pesto-muffins-0733Muffins are my weakness. I love them for various reasons, mostly because when I’m feeling lazy there’s nothing to cut: I just take one and stuff my face with it basically. Then a second one beckons. Usually. So the only thing that annoys me here is that they disappear very quickly. Somehow a cake lasts for a good couple of days. Oh well…

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Coffee Date #3 (aka #weekendcoffeeshare)

Here's-Looking-at-You-(130218)Let’s imagine we’re just having a chat over coffee, or tea if that’s more your thing. It’s been a while since my last post. You will forgive me for not being here during these past couple of weeks, and even if this comes to you late, I still want to wish you a Happy Easter. To those who don’t celebrate I wish you a Happy Spring. I feel I have been missing for too long, so here’s a little life update for you.

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White Chocolate and Strawberry Muffins

White Chocolate and Strawberry Muffins (0218)

I cannot really remember the day I baked these lovely goodies. Most probably it was sometime around mid-June, but somehow I never managed to write about them until now. Things recently have been busy and complicated, and now I’m dealing with grief. I wish the temperatures were still in the decent 20s. Celcius that is. It would have been easier to bake because I know that being in the kitchen often is good for me. If you set aside the eating part, which is something I love most obviously, the act of measuring out the ingredients, putting them all together and waiting patiently for the result takes away a big load of stress and anxiety which unfortunately has lately become part of my life. I am still cooking, well, somewhat; I don’t really know if making myself a green salad is actually cooking but baking is another matter and it’s what I like to do best.

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Peach Melba Muffins with White Chocolate Chunks

Peach Melba and White Chocolate Muffins (9492)

One of the things I get asked for most by friends and family are good recipes for muffins. Now this is quite tricky for me because I’ve had my issues when it comes to baking the little beauties. I’m not referring to this recipe in particular – these have been a total success. I blame my inability to get used to different ovens quickly and efficiently. The oven in our flat in Woking was very powerful and loads of muffins were burnt! The one in Guildford had a smaller wattage (or whatever you call it) so things took longer to bake. Now I’ve returned to a gas oven and to test it I’m finding myself making loads of pizzas. Some have come out with black bottoms, whilst others have been spared, and ended up in our bellies.

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Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry-Muffins-(6541)A very good friend of mine always asks me for more muffin recipes. I get this. Unlike cakes, my personal preference if I were to choose (I don’t think so), muffins are charming little things. Even though I may have a muffin with my coffee when out running errands, I prefer homemade ones. Somehow shop-bought ones seem too big, too out there if you know what I mean.

Sometime ago I was invited to a YSL event at a local store. In one corner the ladies prepared a spread of pretty little cupcakes, which seem to be all the rage nowadays. To me they looked more inviting than all the expensive stuff in the shop. They were good, a bit on the small side, but good nonetheless. One would argue that you cannot look sophisticated while devouring a large chunk of cake! I went home and I wanted to bake something in between.

Homebaked muffins will be smaller than the huge things you might get at the store but don’t let that deter you. You can make the mixture in five minutes flat and they are so convenient when you have people round for afternoon tea. All you need is coffee! Blueberries are great here, but you can use whatever you want…strawberries, raspberries, or perhaps a mixture of both. Makes 12.

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened almost melted
  • 120g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100ml milk, preferably full-fat
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 180g blueberries

Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases and preheat the oven to 190ºC.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.

In another bowl, beat the butter together with the sugar, eggs, milk, lemon zest and juice till everything is just combined.

Fold in the flour mixture gently into the wet ingredients preferably with a spatula. Tip in the blueberries, and don’t overmix. A lumpy batter is exactly what you want here!

Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the mixture evenly in the tray and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes. They should be ready by then but always check by inserting a skewer in the middle of one muffin just to be sure.

Place them on a cookie rack to cool, and eat them when they are slightly warm on the same day. They should keep in an airtight container until the next day – good excuse to invite a good friend for tea. Enjoy!

Rob x

(Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

Jarlsberg and fennel muffins

Spelt and Jarlsberg Muffins (6856)

I was thrilled to see Signe Johansen on What’s Cooking last week. Signe, who is one of my very favourite food writers, grew up in Norway. I only got hold of her first book Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious a month ago I’m ashamed to say, but I’m glad I have it now. I really love this book – I wouldn’t even mention it here if I didn’t – it is a great introduction to some ingredients which are not so familiar to me. Scandi cooking is very homely, very familial. It’s cozy, something I always look for. So this is an easy recipe from Signe’s repertoire, just to get you and me started. I have been baking lots of savoury cakes lately and this fits the bill quite well. There’s spelt flour and Jarlsberg here which of course, is typically Norwegian. If you can’t get hold of spelt flour (it’s easily found in supermarkets these days though) go ahead and use all-purpose flour mixed with wholemeal wheat flour.

  •  300g wholewheat spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 loaded tablespoon Marmite, melted with two tablespoons of boiling water
  • 150g milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 40 g butter, melted
  • 100g Jarlsberg, coarsely grated, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Spelt and Jarlsberg Muffins (6849)

Spelt and Jarlsberg Muffins (6852)

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C for fan or 190 degrees C for non-convection, and line a 12-muffin tray with baking paper or muffin cups.

Measure the flour, fennel seeds, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, baking powder and bicarb of soda, and sift them into a large bowl, to make sure everything is distributed as evenly as possible.

Use a measuring jug for the milk, and add the melted Marmite to the jug. Add this mixture with the dry ingredients and stir for a few times before adding the grated cheese.

Distribute the muffin batter in each muffin cup, but don’t fill them to the brim. I use a small ice-cream scoop for this.

Bake for around 25-30 minutes, in the upper/upper-middle shelf of the oven.

When they are done, they should be golden brown on the top. Place them on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle more grated cheese on top.

They are good on their own but they are great with a proper brunch. One of my favourite recipes.

Spelt and Jarlsberg Muffins (6879)

Spelt and Jarlsberg Muffins (6861)

Thanks Signe!

Rob x

(Adapted from Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious by Signe Johansen, Saltyard Books, 2011.)