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Monday, 7 September 2015

Blueberry and Lemon Muffins

Have You Seen the Muffin Man?

I remember singing this song when I was young
(a long time ago now)
and whenever we decide to bake muffins at home
I end up humming this to myself.
It's a busy bee thing.

As I mentioned in my last post,
the shops are now getting all of the gorgeous summer fruits in abundance
and I bought some blueberries the other day,
but wasn't sure I was going to do with them.

An impulse buy if ever there was one.

There had been a couple of lemons rolling around in the fruit bowl
for a few days and after a few minutes pondering what do with them both,
Muffins sprang to mind.

You could substitute the blueberries for other fruit too.
This really is a general, all-rounder recipe.

You will need :

150g softened unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
120ml whole fat milk
250g self raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
125g blueberries
a little demerara sugar for the topping

1. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
(I had some pretty pink tulip style cases I had been itching to use.)
Pre heat the oven to 200c / 180c fan  / gas 6.

2. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and then gradually add the eggs and milk  little at a time.
The mixture may look a little curdled at this point but don't worry
it will come together at the next stage.

( My little helper for the day )

3. Fold in the flour and lemon zest until the mixture is just combined.
Overworking the mixture can result in the muffins feeling little on the heavy side.

4. Fold in the blueberries.
Again the mixture dos not require too much mixing
as the blueberries will start to burst and you end up with purple muffins.

5. Divide into the muffin cases.
I find an ice cream scoop very helpful with this,
as you get an even dollop in each case.
Top each muffin with a sprinkling of the demerera sugar and
pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes,
or until the muffins are risen and golden on top.

( I had help with the dishes )

6. Leave the muffins to cool in he tin for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

These will keep for 3-4 days in a container,
but taste delicious when fresh and just warm.

Until next time,
enjoy your day.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

A Shiney New Kitchen

Confessions of a Busy Bee

You may have noticed there has been a
distinct lack of baking going on in the Busy Bee household of late?

Truth be told, I lost my baking mojo for a while
- about a year to be exact.

It all started back in June last year when the work started on my NEW KITCHEN.

Yep, that's right - we finally started with the extension to create our dream kitchen.
A place to cook in,
eat in,
 and enjoy as a family.

The building work was straight forward and took around 6 weeks from start to finish,
 it was a B-I-G extension.
Then the kitchen fitters had to do there magical bit.
They created the nicest kitchen a girl could ever wish for,
and they did manage to give me some of the things I had always dreamt of.
A bespoke window seat,
an arched window (yes, I loved Playschool when I was a little girl),
an island work space,
needless to say, I am one very lucky girl.

The colour scheme we went for was a soft pastel one.
Nothing to bright or harsh on the eye.
We plumped for Laura Ashley's light duck egg blue in the end.
It is so lovely,
I still sit and admire the colours.
It is a true country style kitchen (with a modern twist).

Living with the work was not so easy.
The dining room became a make shift  kitchen.
My cooking was limited to the microwave
 and a small halogen oven which a friend loaned me.

I washed up in the bath,
and we ate from plastic plates.

This is nothing new, I hear you say,
as many people have found themselves in similar circumstances
when they have work going on in the kitchen.

I think we got off quite lightly compared to some poor peoples tales of woe,
where they have had to endure some pretty terrible ordeals.

But, for some strange and inexplicable reason,
I have not really settled in my beautiful kitchen until now.

I wonder if I was grieving for the little kitchen I had,
or was it just the upset and upheaval of the work which unsettled me so much?

I really can't say for sure, but I have slowly started to feel a sense of comfort and ease
that has allowed me to dip my toe back into the baking world.

I have two fantastic new Siemens ovens,
and a rather complicated manual to read too.
There are so many settings and recommendations for different types of food you are cooking.
A million miles away from my little crappy oven that you just switched on and hoped for the best.

I have really struggled to produce things that I'm really happy with
and I am a bit stumped as to what is going wrong.

Is it the setting of the oven
or perhaps that the temperature is not right in the oven?

Heaven knows,
but I'm determined to get back to where I was
with my pleasure of baking and all things cakey.

Please don't get me wrong,
the kitchen is a wonderful place now,
but I'm trying to be honest and taking this opportunity
 to explain what a strange time it has been for me.

I realise now what a stressful time the whole experience has been,
but one which I had to experience,
 in order to create a lovely space
for the whole family to enjoy.

Any way, enough of my maudlin mews.
I have been playing around with a few recipes,
and these will pop up here shortly.

All the lovely summer fruits have been appearing in the shops
and the temptation to go a wee bit crazy with them is too great.

The plan is to make some raspberry jam this weekend,
and then some delicious scones to compliment them.

Until next time, enjoy your day.