Category Archives: Baking

Have only just registered the ‘Muffin the Mule’ punnage potential…

dsc_0450 Turns out making muffins can be a social activity as well as providing breakfast. Behold our muffin-orgiastic pile of twenty eight (made in three batches) !

Having been thrust unwillingly (ha ha) from our place of work at lunchtime on Friday thanks to the snow, three quarters of the department and I retired to our kitchen to bake (well, I baked and they moaned about the state of the carpet. The hoover’s broken. Okay, they did some mashing and peeling).

Incidentally, and on a slightly different note from usual, found a lovely story about a mule in Livy’s History of Rome (44.40) this week. The Macedonians (this is before the complete conquest of Greece in 146BC) and the Romans are encamped either side of a river, reasonably peacefully. A highly inconvenient Roman mule escapes from its handlers and wanders into the river, where it’s found by two Thracians, who try to drag it onto their bank. A couple of Roman soldiers follow and kill one of the Thracians, which starts a full-scale battle.

So, other than about the mass production of muffins, we have also usefully learned this week that inconvenient mules have existed throughout the ages. If anyone knows of any other mule stories, we’d be delighted to hear them!

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Muffins: Fast and Fantastic?

517aso-0vvl_ss500_ We’ve become complete muffin freaks at Dara Cottage. Having bought a Jamie Oliver silicone muffin tin from Lakeland in Windermere over New Year, I started with breakfast muffins from Waitrose’s site and then used that idea to make blueberry muffins last week. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying coffee shop muffins and they substitute for almost any meal in an emergency.

Over the next however many weeks, I’ll be working through this recipe book on the left, which is by a Canadian author, so should be a bit more authentic than sites from the UK. That’s my thinking, anyway.

This week we have lemon and poppy seed muffins, a Caffe Nero favourite. If these things aren’t seriously lemony, I’ll be very surprised. We have lemon rind, lemon extract AND lemon juice in here. I’ve stuck very closely to the recipe, other than having to substitute about 100g of wholemeal flour for plain flour, as I hadn’t any more of the latter in the cupboard.

You mix together the dry ingredients (plain flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt), then the wet (an egg, sugar, lemon rind, lemon extract, water, oil, milk and lemon juice), then combine the two. The mixture was much drippier than the other recipes I’ve used, so I’m hoping for lighter muffins. Very clear instructions (if you want the actuallemon quantities, you’ll have to buy the book or leave your email address!).

So, to the taste test. Discovered that I really should only have filled up the tin three quarters of the way, as the tops have flopped to the side a bit (and I’d have more than the eight that made). Just off to pop the muffins out and transfer them to a cooling rack (the rack from my grill doubling up…).

The taste test: somehow (and I really don’t know how), they’re not as lemony as I was hoping for. Texture’s good, though – very light and fluffy with a firm top. Susan Reimer clearly knows what she’s talking about.

Rating: 7/10 Dara points.

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