Muffins Are Tops!

The Secret Great Dublin Bake-Off

My improv group have continued to meet at my house and other venues, which gives me lots of opportunities to try out new baking recipes. I have begun to work my way through Martha Day's Baking. Two weeks ago I made farmhouse biscuits and crunchy oatmeal biscuits, most of which I brought to a different event. The ingredients for the farmhouse biscuits include butter, light brown sugar, crunchy peanut butter, an egg, flour, cinnamon, muesli, raisins and walnuts.  My baking trays are not quite big enough, so the finished biscuits did not look like the neat rounds pictured in the book. It was the same story with the crunchy oatmeal biscuits. Never mind. The reaction to the farmhouse biscuits was particularly gratifying and so I have promised to make them again for the Hospice Coffee Morning at work.

Biscuits good, but muffins better. Three weeks ago I made oat and raisin muffins and maple pecan muffins. The former were not exciting, but the latter had my fellow improv-ists stopping mid-sentence to compliment me. Ingredients for maple pecan muffins: pecans, flour, cinnamon, caster and light brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, eggs and butter milk. Last weekend I presented the guys with two types of blueberry muffins: blueberry and cinnamon and plain blueberry. The blueberry and cinnamon ones disappeared first, with the result that my work colleagues had to make do with the plain blueberry. They didn't complain.

Still on the topic of blueberries, I used some yesterday to make bilberry tea bread. Are blueberries and bilberries the same fruit? The tea bread was very tasty, and more like a cake with a crumble topping than a tea bread. Very nice, despite clinging to the sore spots on my teeth.

So, I'm having a bake-off against myself. If I ever find myself up against another baking enthusiast, they'll never know they're competing, even if they win. Especially if they win.

Versatile Soup Base

This article entitled Soup it up by Jane Baxter (The Guardian, Cook, 30th August 2014) is worth a look. I might use it next month to get back into the swing of soup-making. Jane provides a recipe for a hearty soup base: onion, leek, celery, carrots, red pepper, garlic and tinned tomatoes. This is then used to make chilli and lamb stew, sweet potato coconut curry, chicken, borlotti and greens soup, turnip and green bean soup, and chorizo and cauliflower stew.

Bee Read

My current book is Anyush by Martine Madden, who is a friend of a friend. I am enjoying this story of a secret love affair more than I had anticipated, although I find the untranslated Armenian words difficult to interpret sometimes. Here comes the bee reference:

The church itself was a small beehive-shaped building, with part of the roof missing and the main doorway skewed slightly to the west so that it looked out over the sea but away from the prevailing wind. 
And that's it for now as the spouse and I head off to the Feminist Film Festival.



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