09 July 2010

Children's Summer Party

"Summer time, and the living is easy". For the children, it's also a glorious time of discovery. Nature seems to explode all around us, and even the magical, mysterious seeds we planted many weeks ago have finally revealed themselves.
Tomorrow is the annual summer party at our kindergarten, and I've volunteered to cook vegetable muffins. I often find that such events abound with sweet choices but leave the savoury side sadly neglected, so I always like to contribute something other than cake. I've made these muffins with both carrot and courgette, and either works very well.

I like to use a combination of spelt and wheat flour; the spelt adds a certain nuttiness and body, while the wheat keeps the muffins light. You may like to add coarsely grated or whole nuts - I've used hazelnuts successfully in the past - but with so many people suffering from allergies these days I will forego this tomorrow. The following recipe is based on one by Simon Rimmer which I've liberally adapted to my own taste. I was originally drawn to the idea of hiding a cherry tomatoe within the muffin but to be honest, it makes for messy eating rather than a nice surprise. In the pictures you can see that I made some muffins with hidden others with overt tomato, and personally, I think the latter are prettier, too.

Courgette/Carrot Muffins

150 g spelt flour
72 g wheat flour
3 level teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh herbs: thyme and rosemary are great, but use whatever you have at hand
200 g grated courgette or carrot (about two medium sized specimen)
100 g cheddar, grated

175 ml milk
1 egg
55 ml olive oil
12 cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200 C. For the batter, mix dry and wet ingredients together in separate bowls, then combine. Pour into a greased muffin tin. Prick the cherry tomatoes with the point of a knife so they won't burst, then place on top.

Bake for ca. 20 minutes until golden brown.

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