Monday, May 9, 2011


Gosh, it's been a while since I've posted stuff here. That is not because I've not been baking, I should point out. I've been baking. Oh, yes. I've been doing my usual cake and whatnot, but also kicked off a sourdough starter and made a loaf from it; this is quite exciting and will take up a post all of its own, but for now I want to talk about muffins.

Y'see, I had a quiet weekend planned. I was going to go to a brunch event on Sunday organised by Culture Vultures, called (in it's shortened form) Platespinning. Held at Armley Mills it was a discussion about how to keep as many projects going for as long as you can without them all coming crashing down amongst your ears. Sounds like fun, so I signed up.

On Friday I got a message from the delightful Bake Lady asking if I wouldn't mind doing some muffins for the event, for various reasons. The main catering was being done by Fish&, so I didn't mind pitching in. And, yanno, I like baking.

So I made three batches of muffins (actually four, but that was because one batch was so good I didn't get to try any of them!): some Raspberry & White Chocolate, something I made up on the spur of the moment, Bakewell, and something else I made up on the spot, Carrot & Ginger.

Raspberry Muffin

The raspberry & white choc ones are a staple repertoire muffin - I make them a *lot* - but they're delightful. If you use chunks of chocolate instead of drops they're even better, but sometimes it's just easier to open a bag of drops and pour them into the bowl.

Oven to GM5, or 190°C-ish. Use a muffin tin, line with muffin cases (that fit!) and this will make 12 muffins.

Ingredients are; 250g self-raising flour, 200g caster sugar, 100g white chocolate drops, 150g frozen raspberries (or fresh, but they're out of season at time of writing and frozen are perfectly acceptable), 2 medium eggs, 100g milk and 100g sunflower oil.

Note: yes, that's 100g there on the liquids. 100g milk is 100ml of milk, but 100g of oil (because it's less dense) is 125ml of oil. I like to use digital scales for weighing stuff out and because I can't be bothered trying to read those tiny, raised numbers on plastic jugs I'll just read the scales.

First, in a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Next, in a bowl put together all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the raspberries and mix them in too. Then add the liquid, pour it all in and with a metal spoon fold the liquid into the flour until just mixed. Don't worry about lumps, and don't over mix otherwise the muffin will go chewy and the razzies will break up too much. Just get the flour combined, and you'll be fine.

Pour into the cases, put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden on top and not wobbly if you tap the tin. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES. Really, don't, they'll collapse and be awful.

Easy peasy!


The other two follow the same basic principles but use slightly different ingredients. Let's do the bakewells first.

Same oven, muffin tin and liquid rules as before (ie, 100g milk, 100g oil, 2 eggs). In a bowl mix 150g self-raising, a half-teaspoon of baking powder, 100g ground almonds, 175g caster sugar. Add a big handful of frozen cherries (cf what I said about razzies above) and mix as before. After putting the mix in the cases dab a half-teaspoon of cherry jam on top, and then top with some flaked almonds. Bake as before.

The carrot & ginger ones are just as simple. Same liquids, and the dry ingredients are 250g self-raising, 150g caster sugar, 1tsp ground ginger, 100g grated carrots (from the bag in my fridge that's about two medium carrots, peeled, topped & tailed) and 50g mixed dried fruit, and four chunks of stem ginger that have been finely diced. Add a couple of tablespoons of the syrup from the stem ginger to the oil/milk mix. Bake as before.

See? Muffins are easy, and coming up with ideas for them are, if you follow the right basic guidelines, almost as simple.

Anyway: in addition to my muffins were some superb examples from Lynn (some chocolate chip ones, and a batch of apple & cinnamon) and the food done by Andrew & Debs was excellent: kedgeree, smoked salmon blinis and sausage-in-a-bun. Top marks all round, I think!

And the event was enormous fun, with conversations from the Queen of the UK Supper Club Scene amongst many other plate-spinning luminaries, artists and clever people. My photos from the event are on Flickr; I had fun, and I hope everybody else did too. (And that they liked my muffins!)

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