Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI am always surprised at how many people buy those cakey muffins at coffee shops to take back to their desks, either in the morning or at break times. Or the people who buy them in packs from the supermarkets – you know the ones full of preservatives and correspondingly long sell by dates. Muffins are so easy to make with the added bonus of being fresh and with ingredients that you are able to control and can pronounce the names of. In less than 45 minutes you can be sitting down to a warm freshly baked muffin and a cuppa, smug in the knowledge that you have 11 more to pack into lunch boxes or dish up as an after school snack with a glass of milk for the kids. They can be as healthy or as sinful as you like. It’s entirely up to you and what you have in your larder/pantry. I haven’t tried to freeze them, mainly because they don’t last that long – I used to always pack extra for Jake to share with his lunchtime gang. If you try freezing them, let me know in the comments and I will edit this post to include your thoughts, with a credit to you of course!

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additionsI haven’t made muffins recently but I had three very ripe bananas that needed using up and found myself pulling out the muffin pan…these ones are banana, cinnamon and chocolate chip.

This recipe is one that I have been using for many years – I have tweaked it and tweaked it over time to suit all the ingredient changes that I have made. Adding buttermilk or the more easily available yoghurt keeps the crumb really moist.

All you need by way of kitchen equipment is;

  • a regular 12 hole muffin tray and cupcake liners
  • two mixing bowls plus a smaller heatproof one to melt the butter in
  • electronic scales – if you don’t have one, please, please add it to your wish list as it is the most accurate way to measure out ingredients, especially for baking. If you set your mixing bowl on the scales and set it to zero then you can just keep adding your dry ingredients to it (re-setting to zero each time) which keeps the washing up to a minimum too.
  • a small hand whisk
  • a measuring teaspoon
  • a rubber spatula
  • a large spoon to scoop out the dry ingredients with and then to fill the muffin cups with.

The basic premise is to put all the dry ingredients into the larger mixing bowl and whisk well to aerate and combine. I add any dried fruit or chocolate chips at this stage too as the flour coating helps them not to sink to the bottom. Use a smaller mixing bowl for the wet ingredients. I mash my very ripe bananas straight into this bowl after whisking the egg. The buttermilk comes in a 300ml carton, and if you decide to use a yoghurt pot then just use that to fill the milk up in it – no need for a measuring jug! Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients. Stir lightly – streaks (but not large pockets) of flour are desirable. Scoop into muffin cups. Top with seeds or nuts if using. Bake. Cool and enjoy!

basic-buttermilk-muffins-with-additions

I am taking these over to the friendliest party around – Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26. Today we have two talented co-hosts who are not only fabulous and creative cooks but who can also spin a yarn or two. Prudy @ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.  Let’s party!!

Basic Buttermilk Muffins with Variations

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g golden caster/superfine sugar – you can just use the normal white version too
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 300 ml buttermilk (or 125 ml yoghurt/creme fraiche/ sour cream plus 125ml milk)
  • 80 g melted unsalted butter

Delicious variations- not ALL at the same time!!

General additions and subs:

  • sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans- as a topping
  • 125 g blueberries/raisins/ chopped dried apricots/chopped dates etc
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 100 g spelt or buckwheat flour – reduce flour by 100 g
  • 50 g jumbo oats – reduce flour by 50 g

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 80 g chocolate chips

Blueberry, Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins (Lovely with a little lemon and icing sugar glaze)

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 125 g blueberries

Carrot Cake Muffins (Delicious with a little honeyed cream cheese topping)

  • 125 g grated carrot
  • 80 g soaked and drained sultanas or raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • Replace butter with 80 ml of oil

Coconut, Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 125 g raspberries
  • 25 g coconut flakes – reduce flour by 25 g
  • 80 g white chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with liners or grease them well
  2. Pop the butter in a heat proof bowl and place in the oven for 5 minutes (set the timer!!) while it is heating up.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, hand whisk the egg. If you are going to add bananas, add them now and mash with a fork – I like to leave them a little chunky . Add the buttermilk or yoghurt/creme fraiche/sour cream and milk mixture and whisk to combine everything.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, measure out the flour, the oats and or coconut if using, the sugar, the baking powder , the  salt and chocolate chips or raisins or cinnamon or lemon zest and poppy seeds if using. Whisk well to aerate and to combine all the ingredients. Make a well in it and set aside.
  5. Slowly pour in the melted butter onto the egg/buttermilk mixture, whisking all the while to mix in the butter evenly which will begin to solidify as it hits the cold liquid.
  6. Pour in the wet ingredients onto the dry and stir to mix. Do not over mix – leave some streaks of flour but not huge pockets of it!
  7. Stir in any delicate berries at this point.
  8. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cups and top with the seeds or nuts if using.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Test with a wooden skewer (or a piece of uncooked spaghetti!) – if there is any batter clinging to it, pop the tray back in for a 2 or 3 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool off completely.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Home-made Lemon Olive Oil and Dukkah

home-made-lemon-olive-oil-and-dukkahIt’s time for Fiesta Friday #17 hosted by the lovely Angie @ The Novice Gardener. This week she is joined by  three, yup, three co-hosts! Sweet Alex @ Dinner Daydreams, bubbly  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and yours truly.  Jhuls and I had a lot of fun co-hosting a couple of weeks ago – she has a soft spot for the dessert table which is where you are likely to find her hanging out! Alex will be keeping an eye on the rest of the proceedings while I expect to be propping up the bar! Do check out their wonderful blogs for some great recipes!

Today, I have a couple of recipes to share – both very simple yet with lots of flavour and a myriad of uses. The first is a lovely, really simple recipe for Lemon infused Olive Oil. The oil takes a month to infuse and only uses two ingredients – unwaxed lemons and olive oil. The oil is wonderful drizzled over fish, seafood, chicken, couscous, pasta, soup, tomatoes and also makes a lovely salad dressing and marinade too. All you have to do is place a few clean unwaxed lemons in a jar, top up with olive oil and store in a cupboard for a month. That is it!. A friend that I had made some for, used to just top up the jar with more oil so that she had a constant supply. The lemons get a bit fizzy while they are steeping so it’s a good idea to open the jar to release the gas every week or so. home-made-lemon-olive-oil-and-dukkahThe second recipe is for Dukkah – a coarse Middle Eastern nut, seed and spice blend that is ridiculously versatile. Traditionally, it is served in a small bowl alongside another of olive oil and some warm flatbread. The bread is dipped in the oil and then in the spice blend. It can also be used to sprinkle over hoummus, fried or boiled eggs, tossed with Mediterranean vegetable before roasting and used to coat tiny tender lamb chops before cooking.  Claudia Roden published the first recipe for Dukkah, outside of Egypt in A Book of Middle Eastern Food, back in 1968. Every family has a different version of this which is kept in a large jar in the pantry. It is just a matter of toasting the nuts, seeds and spices, before grinding coarsely.

I had some beautiful beetroot in my veg box which I roasted, whole and unpeeled, wrapped in foil, at 180C for an hour. When they were cool enough to handle, I peeled and sliced them, drizzled them with a little of the lemon oil and sprinkled them with dukka and some chopped salted pistachio nuts. It made for a really delicious and  healthy lunch!

The submissions for Fiesta Friday #17 are looking pretty spectacular already so do take a look and leave a comment too to say hello! Click the link to take you to Angie’s post then click the purple badge to add your link to the party! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/fiesta-friday-17/ Hope to see you there!!

Lemon Olive Oil

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 unwaxed lemons (or however many will fit in your jar)
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse the lemons in warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Place in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Top up with olive oil or a blend of olive and vegetable oil.
  4. Keep in a dark place for a month before using,

Dukkah

Original recipe from Claudia Roden

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g sesame seeds
  • 125g coriander seeds
  • 60g hazelnuts
  • 60g ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

You can also add dried mint,dried oregano, fennel seeds, roasted chickpeas, almonds…

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the seeds and nuts on separate trays and roast them in a preheated 250C gas 8 oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until they begin to colour and release an aroma.
  2. Put them together in the food processor with salt and pepper and grind them until they are finely crushed but not pulverised. Be careful not to over blend or the oil from the too finely ground seeds and nuts will form a paste. Dukkah should be a dry crushed mixture, not a paste.
  3. Store in an airtight jar in a pantry cupboard.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.