It wouldn’t be Monday without a muffin even if it is rather late in the day.
Winter has arrived with a vengeance lately. None of us wanted to get out of bed this morning to face the cold icy day but alas it had to be done. It was the idea of baking a carrot cake muffin that made me climb out from under the duvet. Cheerfully orange and spicy these didn’t disappoint. They were a perfect treat for the wee one just don’t mention the hidden veg!
The only thing I would do to improve them is to use wholemeal or spelt instead of rice flour. That said they do make a delicious gluten free treat.
I hope you’ve got your Christmas cake made by now to give it enough time to soak up all the brandy and be delicious and moist for the big day. If you’ve not had a chance have a look at High Tea Cast for my recipe – Making the Christmas Cake – Part 1 – as well as a few other ideas if like me you’re not feeling very organised this year.
I confess I’ve had my copy of Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth: Recipes and Tips from a Modern Artisan Bakery for quite a while now but have yet to make anything substantial from it. That’s definitely not to say that I don’t like the book. Quite the opposite. It’s a great resource for all bakers, new and experienced. The descriptions of the types of ingredients i.e. different flours and sugars are a valuable resource along with lists of useful tools. Each basic recipe provides variations for readers showing that one simple cake can be made in so many ways. It in no way suggests that this list is complete but rather provides a spring board for inspiration.
My bucket list has grown enormously just by looking through it. Given my current little pause in baking I’ve had time to reflect. A note of my must makes seemed like a good idea and where better to make my list but on here. So when I have time I would like to make the following (in no particular order):
- Apple and rosemary olive oil cake
- Chocolate avocado cake
- Pear, parsnip and ginger cake
- Hazelnut and pineapple upside-down cake
- Spiced apple custard tarts
- Wholegrain spelt scones
I’m going to be one very busy lady and this doesn’t even include all the added extras at the back of the book like pecan brittle and honeycomb.
Cardamom is an underused spice in my repertoire. Since I discovered it as a flavour I’ve been incorporating it into many recipes in ground form. But that can be fiddly so when I spotted cardamom essence in my local deli I knew I’d found an easier way to explore. When asked about my plan for it I couldn’t give a definitive answer because of the many ideas running through my head. So be warned it’s bound to appear again and then who knows which flavour essence will be next.
Beetroot is considered a safe food when eating the eczema diet. Although my initial enthusiasm for the diet has worn off as being too immediately restrictive to my circumstances, I am attempting to eat and learn more about the safe ingredients. I’m thinking baby steps.
Personally I really enjoyed the great big chunks of beetroot in these muffins but I think I was alone. Grating would perhaps hide the vegetable better for its lesser fans. The red contrasts beautifully against the stark white of the cardamom flavoured icing which gives an extra warmth to the already earthy beetroot.
Beetroot muffins with cardamom drizzle
- 3 beetroot bulbs, peeled and chopped or grated
- 30g cocoa powder
- 60ml hot water
- 200g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125ml rice milk
- 60ml rice bran oil
- 225g (1 1/2 cups) spelt flour, sifted
- Icing sugar
- cardamom essence
Chop the beetroot into chunks (or grate). Add the hot water to the cocoa powder to make a smooth paste. Beat in the sugar and eggs. Then add in the beetroot.
Mix together the milk and oil in a jug and then alternate adding half the flour and then half the oil/milk to the beetroot mixture.
Divide into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25 mins at 200C. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 mins before turning out onto a wire rack.
Prepare the icing by mixing together a little icing sugar with a drop of essence and making up to quite a runny paste with water. Drizzle the icing on however you like.
As I recover from illness my priorities have not been in creating new muffin recipes. However while sitting on the sofa recuperating I have had a chance to look through some old blog posts and discovered these little gems on my other (sadly neglected) blog – uppercutcakes.com.
So I think the gist of the story is when life gives you prunes, use them to make muffins and then bribe your family with them.
Prune and oatmeal muffins with maple syrup drizzle icing
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped pitted prunes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup margarine, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the oats and the prunes. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, margarine, golden syrup and the egg. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the batter is just combined. Divide the batter evenly among 12 muffin tins and bake in the middle of a preheated (175°C.) oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are golden and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool.
Make a little icing by adding maple syrup to some icing sugar and then drizzle over the top of the muffins.)
For a bit of a change from muffins, check out my article this month on High Tea Cast all about perfect macarons – Mad for macarons.
So here’s a thing about me, I suffer from eczema. It might not seem like a big deal but a recent flare up has made me pretty ill with head to toe yucky skin and swollen glands to boot.
There’s many a story I could tell about doctor’s advice but my personal favourite was when I was told that the drug (for a completely unrelated issue) I was yet to take would not be affecting my current skin condition. Thanks very much for pointing out the obvious, I thought that as soon as a doctor prescribes something it mysteriously makes its way into my blood…
I’m not really one to feel sorry for myself but instead I wanted to know more about my condition. After all knowledge is power. I’ve experimented a little on here with muffins for different diets. This was sparked in part by my own “feeling” that dairy or wheat could be affecting me. I started reading The Eczema Diet: Eczema-Safe Food to Stop the Itch and Prevent Eczema for Life and it turned my whole understanding on its head. For example, I’ve been drinking almond milk thinking those particular nuts are good for my skin but she believes that they are not eczema safe.
I’m still trying to get my head round all the different foods that I “should” be eating and what I “should not”. And trying to work out whether this is a workable solution when I am responsible for feeding my family. I don’t doubt that it’s a very healthy diet and we could perhaps benefit from it but as a working mum do I really have time to make so much from scratch? And will limiting my little one’s diet so severely (albeit for a short time) be good for her?
Anyway, these are some of the issues that I’m tackling at the moment. Now onto muffins, the diet advocates pears instead of apples. I’ve never been very keen on eating pears as they are only perfectly ripe for such a short time. So this is my small attempt to adopt pears into my life. And I must say I even rather enjoyed both the muffin and the pear.