Sunday, 3 January 2010

It's going to be a Happy New Year

As always for me, New Year was a quiet affair, it's a celebration that I don't really have much time for; parties make it feel anticlimactic, I can't bear the prospect of paying to get into pubs and then paying more for drinks and London itself is just bananas, and not having been part of a couple of late I am excluded from the nights in a lot of my peers indulge in. Anyway this year I decided to spend it with someone and just have a night in. I made us comfort food - cottage pie with lots of green vegetables, and bought some cava for midnight. It felt exactly right, relaxed, cosy and intimate.

I used the cottage/ shepherd's pie recipe I always revert to, which came from one of my Mum's Good Housekeeping recipe books from the 1970's. It was one of those books that was designed to help you use up your leftovers, and told you what you could freeze, and what could be made in a slow cooker and things. I have no clue where it is now, which is a shame as it would be really useful. Apart from the section on cooking things in aspic, I don't think anyone will ever want to revive that trend *shudders*

Anyway, so that was my new year, cottage pie, some winter Pimms (which I deserve commision on because I am encouraging so many people to try it!) and the heating on.

So, with a post title that finally bears some resemblance to lyrics from a musical (I'm hoping the launch of Glee will provide me with some new inspiration as of late I've been reduced to titles that actually resemble my recipe and not some vague allusion!)

Not making the Nigella cornbread stuffing had left me with a single orange and a pack of fresh cranberries. A morning spent googling for muffin recipes hadn't come up with anything much, and I wasn't sure where to go until a friend pointed me back to Nigella, and Domestic Goddess this time (I know I've been all about Feast of late). The Christmas Morning muffins were just what I had in mind, and took about 20 minutes to knock up.

Christmas Morning Muffins

200g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g demerara sugar
good grating fresh nutmeg
1 clementine or small orange - I would grate and add the zest aswell if making again
approximately 50ml milk
60g unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
150g dried cranberries
12-bun muffin tin with papers

for the topping:
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar, and grate over a generous amount of fresh nutmeg.
2. Squeeze the orange or clementine juice into a measuring jug, then pour in milk on top till it comes up to the 150ml mark. Add the melted butter and the egg, and beat to combine.
3. Pour the jug of liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir till the ingredients are more or less combined, remembering that a lumpy batter makes light muffins.
4. Last of all, lightly fold in the cranberries and fill the muffin cases or cups. The amount of cranberries specified here makes for heavily fruited muffins; if you want them sparser, use half the amount.
5. Mix together the demerara sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the tops of the muffins.
6. Stick them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes

Nigella says to split them open and spread them with butter and marmalade, but we just ate them as they were. The cranberries make for fantastic pockets of tartness in what would otherwise be a quite sweet, but very light muffin, which is quite nice with a coffee for a late breakfast.

Next time, I need to find a way to use up the huge bag of oatmeal I bought to make facepacks with the Guides, and also more exploits in bread with Mabel the leaven.


Libbs said...

Sounds like a perfect NYE Penny :)

Kerri said...

Sounds perfect to me too. Happy new year!

Cake_Girl said...

I have these on my to-make list! I've just come across your blog and really enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

オテモヤン said...



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