The G8’s recent mufti extravaganza prompted me to create these American-style savoury muffins as a tribute to Obama, the only leader able to carry off the ‘my tie’s being laundered following a messy run-in with tomato ketchup’ look with any panache. I’m not altogether certain that the main objective of the summit was to evoke a Monty Python sketch, but that, to my considerable amusement, was the result.
Allison Pearson, writing in the Daily Telegraph, summed it up perfectly:
‘Let’s be clear. You can wear a suit without a tie, on two conditions. One, the suit needs to be of the highest grade, woven from the chest-hairs of privately educated sheep. And two, you need to be Barack Obama. Otherwise, you end up with the deeply uncomfortable gallery of statesmen who were photographed at Enniskillen, as in a police line-up. David Cameron looked as if he had left his tie in the car; Vladimir Putin looked as if he had left his tightly knotted around the throat of a political opponent; the Japanese prime minister, unhindered by any tie, had had a rush of blood and opted for deck shoes as well, and may have to be dissuaded from wearing a ripped T-shirt and winklepickers next time. François Hollande, as usual, looked like a misplaced maître d’, who needed not just a tie but an apron and a white napkin over his arm to complete the look.’
These are adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe.
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
250g German spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Italian olive oil
2 organic eggs, beaten
80g butter, melted
200ml Russian kefir (or yoghurt)
75g strong English Cheddar, grated
75g French Comté, grated
75g courgettes, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Fry the onions in olive oil over a gentle heat until golden. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and paprika. In another bowl combine the eggs, butter, kefir and Worcestershire Sauce and stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Last, fold in the onions, courgettes and cheese. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin (greased if you’re not using a silicon mould) and bake for 18 minutes.