Have you ever seen a dog spin like a top? No, nor had I. Over the past 20 years or so I have become well accustomed to the Labrador brand of madness; eternally immature, beyond boisterous and absolutely fanatical chewers. But nothing had prepared me for the particular brand of madness that belongs to the young English Setter. I once read that although intelligent, English Setters are not easy to train as they’re easily distracted and exceedingly wilful. Well there’s an understatement if ever I heard one. In addition, they are very sensitive and do not take well to criticism or to be being told off (who does?). I’ve witnessed some lunacy over the years, but Java took the biscuit yesterday. She got her foot caught in her collar, which resulted in her spinning round and round very rapidly on three legs. Just watching her made me feel dizzy, but I managed to slow her down enough to free her foot and she collapsed to the floor with her eyes askew and glazed over as if she’d just necked a couple of generous measures of absinthe.
Sleeping it off
These muffins combine the toasty nuttiness of buckwheat flour, the warm earthiness of cumin seeds and the saltiness of melted cheese. Just what you need when you’ve been abusing the absinthe.
Ingredients (makes 8-10 muffins)
150ml olive oil
150g buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin grains
150g courgettes, peeled and grated
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
150g comté cheese, cut into very small cubes
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the olive oil and then beat well. Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, polenta, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and seasoning) and combine with the egg/oil mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients and then transfer to a muffin tin, filling each mould almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Best served warm.