Alright, alright here I am.
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while and assumed, quite reasonably too, that as this is a fairly new blog I might have got bored and wandered off to do other things. Not so, dear reader! I have a damn good reason, and that reason is — da, da, da, Dah! — I’m pregnant. Aaaand because of that I haven’t really been interested in eating pretty much any food except dry toast and plain pasta for the last three months. I’ve been really interested in sleeping though.
But I’ve come through the other side of the first trimester so I’m back with a reader request! My mate Jonathan over at In Which I made this request last week:
I have a request, but no recipe. Can you find a recipe for a really delicious savoury muffin? Must be vegetarian. Ideally also no pre-cooking of things (e.g. pre-roasting pumpkin), because who has the time/organisational capacity to do that? If I want muffins, I usually want them in my mouth within an hour!
which to me is a great request as muffins and I have a something of a terse relationship. Savoury muffins are often terrible – flavourless, over-large, somehow both dry and stodgy (but not in a comforting way), and masquerading as a mashup of a cake and a salad. The proliferation of terrible muffins in the world upsets me a little more than is strictly necessary – anyone who knows me fairly well will probably have have heard me denounce all muffins as an abomination in various fits of pique, but the truth is that I love muffins and shit ones really upset me because muffins are so easy to make well.
My preference is for a slightly denser muffin as I grew up on sweet muffins made to a recipe from The Tassajara Bread Book, an amazing relic of Californian hippy-dom that you would do well to get your hands on for the illustrations alone.
The recipe that I’m giving you here is a variation on a savoury corn muffin from the same book. It’s really quick and is one of those recipes that is easily adjustable to personal taste and to what you’ve got lying around.
Cheese and herb corn muffins – makes 12
I’ve chosen a polenta/cornmeal muffin base as the polenta has a nice, robust flavour of its own and doesn’t tend towards sticky stodginess like all-flour muffins, but if corn is not to your liking you can easily replace the corn with more wheat flour. Also feel free to fiddle around with the proportion of corn to wheat to get it how you like it.
1 cup/150g SR flour*
1 cup/190g fine polenta/cornmeal (look, coarse is perfectly acceptable, they’ll just be crunchier)
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup/ 60 mls oil or melted butter – I used rice bran oil
1 ¼ cups/325 mls milk
2/3 tsp stock powder (optional) – I used Massel chicken, which is vegetarian
50g/1 loosely packed, almost-full cup grated cheese (whatever you like)
½ cup/20g combination of fresh thyme, oregano, basil and parsley (or what-have-you) in whatever proportions you prefer (obviously more basil an parsley than the other two)
OR 1 tsp dried thyme and 1tsp dried oregano – do not even talk to me about dried basil or parsley
Pinch o’ salt
Preheat the oven to 200°c and grease your muffin tins. Combine flour, polenta, baking powder, and cheese in a big bowl.
In a smaller bowl beat eggs and combine with stock powder if using, oil, milk, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold quickly until just combined. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tins and pop in the oven for 15 mins.
They’re ready when they’re golden brown on top.
Best eaten warm, great as a snack or with anything involving tomatoes (and beans).
Add chunks of feta or haloumi
Add Mexican or Indian spice blends
Stir some leftover chili or pasta sauce through the batter to replace some of the liquid
Grate a zucchini into the mix
Grate in a skerrick of some kind of citrus rind
etc, etc, etc
*You can use plain flour and double the amount of baking powder if you don’t have SR. I alway use SR flour for cakes and stuff because we make a lot of bread and pizza so the only plain flour we have is bread flour which isn’t so good for making cakes, and we don’t have enough storage space for another bloody massive jar of flour.