Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I can't think of a bigger indulgence than warm, fresh out of the oven muffins on a chilly Autumn morning. Especially during weekends, there's nothing quite as rewarding as hopping out of bed and diving into my kitchen to whip up a batch of 12 spongy, golden little treats. The smell that permeates through the house is enough to get everyone upstairs out of bed and hurrying to the breakfast table. Who can possibly resist a basket full of muffins along with some jams, butter and coffee? It always feels like such an achievement to get a gorgeous table set first thing in the morning on a Saturday, when in fact, it couldn't be easier!
I have a few recipes I love. My Health- Freak Muffins have been quite a success for example. They're filled with fruit and veg and although that's about as healthy as they get, I get a warm feeling inside when I pop one of these into my bag in the event of a train delay. Then there's my carrot muffins which have become a regular on our road trips out of the country. I remember baking them last summer at 5 AM (I'm not kidding you) before we left for France. Other popular recipes include Nigella's Chocolate- Chocolate Chip Muffins which have made me look like quite the domestic goddess in the eyes of my in-laws and my corn- thyme muffins, always appreciated with a bowl of chilli.
When it comes to quick breakfast muffins though, I almost always opt for the Orange Breakfast Muffins in Nigella Bites. They're so fragrant and beautiful with the little flecks or orange zest. I love to split them open while they're still steaming so that the butter immediately seeps into them. Then a good spoon of sourish blackberry jam and my weekend is off to a good start.
Here's the recipe:
Orange Breakfast Muffins
*75g unsalted butter
*250g self-raising flour
*25g ground almonds
*half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*75g caster sugar
*zest of 1 orange
*100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
*100ml full-fat milk
*12-bun muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases
Preheat the oven to 200?C/gas mark 6. Melt the butter and set aside. Combine the flour, ground almonds, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Measure the orange juice and milk into a jug and whisk in the egg and then the cooled, melted butter. Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you go. The batter will be lumpy but that's as it should be: you want everything to be no more than barely combined. The whole point of muffin mixture is that it must never be overworked. Spoon out the mixture equally into the muffin cases and cook for 20 minutes. Remove, in their paper cases, to a wire rack and let cool slightly (but not completely) before devouring. Makes 12.