Ok, let me start by saying that this post is primarily aimed at my sister and my mother. The former has not had a lot of success with muffins and my mother berates me for the lack of detailed photographs. I am attempting family harmony here, muffin style.
My sister is a mean cook. I eat her curries with relish, tinged with envy. She has ‘The Nose’; my mother swears by using your nose. To know when the different stages take place in the birth of a good curry. Melanie has that gene, I have to pretend to. Mel also possesses, what Nigella calls a necessity in a good cook – greed. I couldn’t agree more!
The one, much loved habit Mel has, which is stirring, is her greatest ally in making a curry. There are no two ways about it. You need to be stood by your hot pot, stirring the onions et al continuously to get the ingredients to blend together and become a perfect masala. She enjoys this process immensely, hovers over the pot jealously, her hand tight over the continually moving wooden spoon. Do not attempt to ‘help’. Chillies burn, as does the hot wooden spoon. I know. Hmmm….I should get her onto risottos!
This very trait however, is also her downfall when it comes to muffins. A lumpy batter makes a light muffin. Melanie has yet to control the impulse to beat the hell out of the batter to smoothen it. So it comes out flat, dense, with a bread like crust. Eatable still, but a muffin…. it is not.
It just so happened that today I was planning on making Nigella’s Apple and Cinnamon Muffins from Kitchen. I adore this recipe being a sucker for any apple-cinnamon. It’s a primitive combination, in a way like baby food. It is pretty much a tie between an apple based or a chocolate dessert in my book. Do not make me choose.
I had spelt flour lying around so I used that, though I often use plain flour. I have noticed that, though these muffins are not high risers anyway, the spelt flour ones tend to rise less than the plain flour muffins. There’s no stopping these getting gobbled either way. Here, I made smaller ones, to go into Lil’Lassie’s lunchbox. I’m sure she won’t notice…..I think.
So Melanie, here you go…..(and Ma, yes I finally posted this recipe. And yes, you have to weigh and measure the ingredients!! )