Sunday, 7 August 2011

Goodbye to blueberry... muffins?

I know, I know, long time no post. Sadly there' s a huge difference in the time I have to write when working my notice and learning a new role. There's a huge difference in spare time all in and this evening I'm sitting writing with a practically bare fridge, and no intention of shopping until Friday (which is approximately the same time as I have a minute unaccounted for). It's all good and I'm really enjoying what I'm doing, but I'm going to have to ask regular readers to bear with me whilst I get into my stride.

There has been some cooking going on, here are my blueberry muffins - sadly without picture as they were inhaled greedily, their dense almondy-ness (it's a word) contrasting with the sharpness of the fresh fruit. I've also put together another courgette recipe for those gluts, this time a traditional fritter, with a spike of chilli.

I've also had the fortune of being out and about at the weekend a little, last weekend the Foodie festival at Battersea Park, and yesterday a potter down to Brighton with a tasty lunch at Bill's Place which I had seen mixed reviews about but I really enjoyed.

So, blueberry muffins, pantry style. Before being food aware if you will, I used to love shop/ cafe bought muffins, their sticky (almost claggy) cakeness being a signifier of a trip out, or a treat. And then I realised that I really don't like cake that sticks to the roof of my mouth much like peanut butter. The synthetic taste the fruit seems to take on, and the oversweetness combining to turn me off them completely. In fact I pretty much gave up on muffins in their entirety. I tried baking my own - Nigella's Christmas ones, but found they didn't live up to their hype (I've since discovered I like my spicing heavy in some recipes - that being one of them). And so, much like the shop bought pasta sauces, muffins were left on the back burner, cupcakes being my treat of choice.

A couple of weeks back I had bluberries in my veg box, I'm sure there's plenty of exciting, challenging things I could have done with them, but I fancied muffins and wanted to pair the sharp fruit with some dense ground almonds. I couldn't find a recipe, so looked around and developed one that did what I wanted it to, and I have to say I was impressed - as were Mark and my landlord.

Blueberry Muffins - Penelope's Pantry style

This easily made about 12 regular sized muffins - I would say it would do about 6 - 8 massive coffee shop style ones, and you could easily stretch the mixture to 24 smaller ones for a children's party or if there are more people in your office (says she, speaking from experience!).


200g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
50g unsalted butter (cold from the fridge)
80g caster sugar (I used golden)
150g fresh blueberries
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225ml milk
1 teaspoon almond extract/ essence


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees or Gas 6, and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cake cases.
In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and ground almonds together.
Add the butter and rub in as you would for crumble topping, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Stir in the sugar and blueberries
In a jug, mix the eggs, milk and almond extract together
Pour all of the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl and as quickly as possible stir until it's just combined
Spoon the batter into muffin cases - about a tablespoon per case
Bake for 25 minutes until golden, cool in the tin and then tip out onto a wire rack

These went fantastically with coffee, the sweet muffins contrasting with the coffee - add a dash of almond essence (or amaretto!) to your coffee to bring out the flavour further.

I think these would work really well with raspberries and am a bit annoyed I realised this just as the raspberries were coming to an end. I'm thinking of what to do with blackberries next.

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