Tag Archives: savoury muffins

Savoury buckwheat muffins (gf) and a dog in a whirl

buckwheatmuffins

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.

javatable

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)

2 eggs

150ml olive oil

150g buckwheat flour

50g polenta

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.

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Savoury chickpea muffins and cold, white stuff

chickpeahalloumi

Everything was all white this morning (my punishment for making silly puns is that I now have the Bill Withers song ‘Lovely Day’ stuck on repeat in my head: ‘Then I look at you, And the world’s all white with me, Just one look at you, And I know it’s gonna be a lovely day…’).

Snow in this area is rare, which means that when it does happen, everything grinds to a halt; Hugo being a case in point. He dipped one paw into the cold, white stuff, looked around quizzically, sighed heavily and turned back into the house. Java and Léo, on the other hand, were absolutely delighted. Snow is a precious commodity. So much so that I now have a freezer full of ready-to-throw snowballs, which is, I assume, the ammunition equivalent of microwave meals. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t try to take them to school in a cooler box.

Like Hugo, the migratory cranes in the cornfield to the back of the house looked very cheesed-off. I think they were probably lamenting their choice of winter destination: ‘That’s the last time we’re coming here – what a rip-off! We flew 5,000 kilometres for a bit of sun and this is what we end up with. We could have stayed at home if we’d wanted snow!’. Maybe Hugo will migrate south next winter in case the nasty, white stuff strikes again.

javasnow2 copy

javasnow copy

Chickpeas (or garbanzos) have a very low-GI and are a rich source of fibre, making them ideal for digestive disorders and weight loss. They are also rich in protein (in the form of amino acids), minerals (especially manganese, selenium and iron), vitamin K, folates and antioxidants (saponins).

Ingredients (makes 12)

200g spelt flour

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon chilli powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

400g chickpeas, pre-cooked and mashed

2 eggs, beaten

100ml olive oil

75g cheddar cheese, grated (any hard cheese will do)

1 onion, chopped

½ red pepper, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine the flour, seasoning, spices and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. In a second bowl, combine the chickpeas, eggs and oil, mixing well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, folding together well. Lastly incorporate the grated cheese, onion and red pepper. Transfer the mixture to muffin tins or moulds (I use silicon moulds) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a fork comes out clean. Delicious served hot or cold.

Cheesy G8 muffins

cheesecourgettemuffins

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.